Sunday, September 30, 2007

New releases for the week of October 2


(, Book Depository)

Enter the Mirrorscape - an amazing world limited only by the artist's imagination... Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, Melkin Womper is apprenticed to a master painter, Ambrosius Blenk. Son of a village weaver, Mel is over-awed by the master's richly coloured and vividly detailed paintings. He is particularly amazed by the colours, because there are no colours back home. To have colour in your life, you have to buy the Pleasure, and the sinister scarlet-robed Fifth Mystery own the rights to such Pleasures. Soon, Mel and his new friends Ludo and Wren find themselves caught in a power struggle between the Mystery and the master. One that involves stepping through paintings into a world where the bizarre is commonplace and all logic is irrelevant. A world where angels, pyramid mazes, imaginary monsters, talking houses and - most importantly - the simple paintbrush all combine to form a hugely original and deeply compelling fantasy.

Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel, Eoin Colfer, Giovanni Rigano
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twentieth Annual Collection, Ellen Datlow (Editor), et al
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Postsingular, Rudy Rucker
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Stork Naked, Piers Anthony
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Eternity, Greg Bear
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, Susanna Clarke
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

No Rest for the Witches, Mary Janice Davidson, et al
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Ivory and the Horn, Charles de Lint
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, Neil Gaiman
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The White Plague, Frank Herbert
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Redwall, Brian Jacques (Reprint)
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Awakened Mage, Karen Miller
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Highwayman, R.A. Salvatore
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

An Enchanted Season, Maggie Shayne, et al
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Touched By Fire, Catherine Spangler
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Sky People, S. M. Stirling
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Micah and Strange Candy, Laurell K. Hamilton
(, Book Depository)

The Water Weavers, Kai Meyer
(, Book Depository)

Across the Wall: A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories, Garth Nix (Paperback)
(, Book Depository)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New York Times bestsellers for September 30

Terry Pratchett’s Making Money debuts at number 4 on the New York Times bestseller list. US, Europe, Canada.

Terry Brooks’ Elves of Cintra drops seven spots in the fourth week to number 17. US, Europe, Canada.

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Sandworms of Dune is at number 28 and down six at the end of it's seventh week. US, Europe, Canada.

L.E. Modesitt's Natural Ordermage makes number 30 in its first week on the list. US, Europe, Canada.

William Gibson's Spook Country is down one point to number 34 managing to stay on the list in the seventh week. US, Europe, Canada.

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road holds onto number 8 to finish its 25th week on the list. US, Europe, Canada.

Terry Brooks’ Armageddon’s Children makes it start on the list at number 26. US, Europe, Canada.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Book of Jhereg

The Book of Jhereg is actually an omnibus of the first three books of The Adventures of Vlad Taltos series, Jhereg, Yendi, and Teckla. Vlad Taltos is an assassin and small crime boss in the Dragaeran Empire, a human in a society of the centuries-living and tribal Dragaerans. He is also a practitioner of both sorcery and witchcraft and is telepathically bonded to a miniature dragon. As one can guess from Vlad’s profession, he often gets involved in the darker side of Dragaeran politics.
I liked the books, but something was a little off. For one thing they were a bit confusing. There have been eleven books published in the series so far and two of them, Yendi and the fourth book Taltos, are out of order chronologically. This means that while Jhereg is the first book in the series, it reads like it’s from the middle. It’s not a serious impediment to the plot, however there are references to earlier events that make little sense. Also, aspects of Dragaeran culture and society are not sufficiently explained. It’s as if the author decided to jump right in and flesh out the rest later. So while normally I would suggest reading a series in the order it was published, the books make more sense if they are read chronologically.
Whichever order you choose to read them, the Vlad Taltos are fairly good sword and sorcery yarns. They read a bit like young adult novels though they would be enjoyable at any age.
Final rating: 7/10.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hunter's Run

A three-way collaboration between George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham, Hunter’s Run tells the tale of Ramon Espejo. Ramon is a prospector on the colony world Sao Paulo who is always searching for the big strike. He happens to kill an important figure in a bar fight and flees to the outback to escape justice, however, out there he encounters a strange alien race who force him to be used for their own purposes. In the process, Ramon will discover truths about himself as well as prove what it means to be alive and what it means to be human.
Hunter’s Run was a long time in the making; Dozois originally wrote it as a novella in the late 1970s. In 1977, Martin invited Dozois to read his story at a workshop. The story received a chilly reception, however Martin liked it and suggested it could be made into novel form. He worked on it until 1981 before sending it back to Dozois who consequently buried it in his desk for 20 years. Martin then suggested the story needed a fresh writer and in enters Daniel Abraham, who carried the book to its conclusion, before returning it to Dozois for the finishing touches.
I liked this book quite a bit, which is hardly surprising considering Martin is my favorite author. The aliens in the book are distinctive and fleshed out as is the colony world of Sao Paulo. Though of course the story is really about Ramon Espejo. Ramon is a very gray character that struggles to control his drinking and his rage while among others. Yet anyone who knows the impulses of solitude and wanderlust will understand what drives him to explore. Martin and Dozois are close friends and both influenced Abraham so it’s no surprise that the writing style is consistent throughout the novel. In fact, I found it difficult to tell where one author left off and another began. I’ve never read Dozois, but the nicely ambiguous ending of Hunter’s Run, plus the grittiness of the setting, is quite typical of both Martin and Abraham. I felt that the story’s only real drawback was that it could have been expanded a bit more. The book also includes an afterword covering the history of the story as well as an interview with the three authors.
Final Rating: 9/10.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New releases for the week of September 25th


The Bonehunters, Steven Erikson
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Seven Cities Rebellion has been defeated and Sha'ik is dead, but there is no end of battle in this, the sixth installment of Steven Erikson's epic Malazan Book of the Fallen. In the historic city of Y'Ghatan, a rebel force led by a fanatic still resists the apparent victors; and beyond that bloody fortress, a far greater conflict is beginning to materialize.

Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, James Gurney
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Orc King, R. A. Salvatore
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Logos Run, William C. Dietz
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Beowulf, Caitlin Kiernan, Neil Gaiman
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Horror in the Museum, H. P. Lovecraft (Reprint)
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

House of Storms, R. MacLeod
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Cybermancy, Kelly McCullough
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Gregory Maguire
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The Diamond Isle, Stan Nicholls
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Empire of Ivory, Naomi Novik
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Helfort's War Book 1: The Battle at the Moons of Hell, Graham Sharp Paul
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Lyra's Oxford, Philip Pullman, John Lawrence
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Blood Engines, T. A. Pratt
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Princess of Wands, John Ringo
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Star Trek: Captain's Glory, William Shatner, Garfield Reeves-Stevens
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Dark Moon Defender, Sharon Shinn
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Destiny, Paul B. Thompson & Tonya C. Cook


At All Costs, David Weber
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

New York Times Bestsellers for September 23

Terry Brooks’
Elves of Cintra drops five spots in it's third week down to number 10. US, Europe, Canada.

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Sandworms of Dune is at number 22, down five places in it's sixth week. US, Europe, Canada

S.M. Stirling’s The Sunrise Lands is down two points to finish it's second week at number 27. US, Europe, Canada.

William Gibson's Spook Country ends week six at number 33 and down eleven. US, Europe, Canada.

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road continues into it's 24th week and hits at number 8, up one spot from last week. US, Europe, Canada.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The next John Scalzi book

On his blog John Scalzi has just announced that the title of his next book will be Zoe's Tale. Zoe's Tale will be the fourth book in the Old Man's War universe and will feature Zoe, the daughter of John Perry and Jane Sagan. It is scheduled to be released in May of next year. The full blog post can be read here. There is also a mini-interview with SFScope in discussing Zoe's Tale as well as two other future projects.

For those who have not read Scalzi, his books are light and entertaining science fiction. Old Man's War has echos of Starship Troopers, but manages to be both funnier and and darker than the earlier novel. Check out Scalzi's website and for more information on his books.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Robert Jordan has passed away.

I am sad to report that Robert Jordan passed away yesterday afternoon after a long illness. My most heartfelt condolences to his wife and family.

Rest in peace RJ.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New releases for the week of September 18

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Publisher’s Blurb:
Now, in Spin’s direct sequel, Wilson takes us to the "world next door"--the planet engineered by the mysterious Hypotheticals to support human life, and connected to Earth by way of the Arch that towers hundreds of miles over the Indian Ocean. Humans are colonizing this new world--and, predictably, fiercely exploiting its resources, chiefly large deposits of oil in the western deserts of the continent of Equatoria.

Lise Adams is a young woman attempting to uncover the mystery of her father's disappearance ten years earlier. Turk Findley is an ex-sailor and sometimes-drifter. They come together when an infall of cometary dust seeds the planet with tiny remnant Hypothetical machines. Soon, this seemingly hospitable world will become very alien indeed--as the nature of time is once again twisted, by entities unknown.

Worldbinder, David Farland
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Dragonhaven, Robin McKinley
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Making Money, Terry Pratchett
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

2012: The War for Souls, Whitley Strieber
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Natural Ordermage, L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
, Barnes & Noble)


Tales of H. P. Lovecraft, H. P. Lovecraft, Joyce Carol Oates (Reprint)
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Cowboy Angels, Paul J. McAuley
(, Book Depository)

Bestsellers for September 16

Terry Brooks’ Elves of Cintra finishes it's second week on the bestseller list at number 5 with no change from the previous week. US, Europe, Canada

Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's Sandworms of Dune is down three spots in it's fifth week to finish at number 17. US, Europe, Canada

William Gibson's Spook Country, in it's fifth week, is down two spots to number 22. US, Europe, Canada

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Patrick Rothfuss has won the Quill!

I know I'm a little late on this news, but Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind has won the science fiction and fantasy category of the Quill Awards.

Congratulations to Patrick!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Crooked Little Vein

Mike McGill, private detective and self-described shit magnet, has hit rock bottom of a bottomless pit when in waltzes the president’s heroin-addicted chief of staff with an assignment he literally can’t refuse. They want him to find a book, but not just any book. Two hundred years ago the Founding Fathers were afraid the constitution would not be able to keep human nature in check so they created a “Secret Constitution” with invisible amendments to be deployed at times of crisis. With America being overrun with sexual perverts the White House has decided that that time is now. But the book is missing. And they want Mike to find it. Mike takes off on a trip on America’s darkest, dankest, and most depraved underbelly thus the title, “Crooked Little Vein”.
Crooked Little Vein is Warren Ellis’ first novel and it’s surprisingly short. It’s 277 pages on small paper in larger-than-normal font. As a regular size hardback it would probably come in around 150 pages. Prose is spare and to the point. The plot is also straightforward and enjoyable to boot, basically a humorous detective story. Everything makes for a very quick read, which is a good thing since no one could handle this book in large doses.
Which brings me to an important observation: this book should come a warning label on the front saying, “Not for the faint-of-heart.” But I suppose Warren Ellis’ name serves the same purpose. This novel abounds with all kinds of sexual perversions that the main character has a knack for stumbling into. Many of these moments turn out to be genuinely hilarious, however, many others are purely for shock value. The author has a few actual moments of lucidity where he interposes arguments for and against freedoms that allow such things but it seems tacked on more for plot purposes rather than to serve as an actual debate. Characters are fairly one-dimensional with the protagonist being somewhat infallible, but then that’s to be expected from what I would call shock literature.
Like I previously stated, I suspect that the morality issue was never intended as an actual debate, however there is one argument that really bothered me. There are several instances in which television and the Internet are noted as being mainstream and thus by implication any perversions on either medium are also mainstream. The author never bothers to refute it so it seems that this is his point. And frankly I don’t buy it. Simply because the medium is mainstream does not mean the content is as well. It’s like a car accident; people stop to watch even though someone has been hurt. It’s a horrified fascination but that doesn’t mean a majority of people actually enjoy it themselves.
Final rating: 6.5/10.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday News Bits

Subterranean Press has announced that they will be publishing two novellas by Jack Vance and Thomas M. Disch. Full article here.

Yesterday The Wertzone posted that Gollancz has reissued eight of their SF novels as their “Future Classics Range”.

Evolution by Stephen Baxter
Blood Music by Greg Bear
Schild's Ladder by Greg Egan
Fairyland by Paul J. McAuley
Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan
The Separation by Christopher Priest
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Of these, I’m ashamed to admit that the only one I’ve read is Hyperion, but many of the others are on my To-Read List. Check the full blog post for more details.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Releases for the week of September 11

Highlight of the week:

(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)
Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith, Clark Ashton Ashton Smith

Selected carefully by well-respected editor Robert Weinberg and with an introduction by award-winning author Gene Wolfe, The Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith offers both readers and scholars a definitive collection of short fiction and short novels, by an overlooked master of fantasy, horror and science-fiction.

The Sunrise Lands, S. M. Stirling
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Immortals, Tracy Hickman (Reprint)
(Barnes & Noble)

The Last Hero, Terry Pratchett (Reprint)
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Winterbirth, Brian Ruckley
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Monarchies of God by Paul Kearney

Hawkwood’s Voyage.
The Herectic Kings.
The Iron Wars.
The Second Empire.
Ships from the West.

The plot is a little predictable and the conflict between Rasmusians and the Merduks and is a little too similar to the Christianity and Islam for my comfort, yet I really liked this series.  Kearney provides his own twist including a religious schism and injects mages and werewolves to make a volatile mix.

The Monarchies of God has quite a bit political intrigue reminding me of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.              And like Martin, Kearney’s not afraid to make his characters suffer.    They endure a great deal of hardship and he’s also not afraid to kill them off when it’s convenient. Kearney is good at creating complex characters with multiple motivations and opinions.

Another thing I liked about the Monarchies of God is that the books are streamlined, tight and fast moving. Kearney says what he has to say and gets out. He also does not include long-winded descriptions or details that not necessary to the plot so each book is much shorter than you would expect; in a genre where books are typically 600 or pages, his books not much longer than 300. And brevity turns out to be Kearney’s only major downside.     His books are just a little too short. Several times in the series I wondered what happened to particular character or with certain events, but was unable to find out because those scenes were cut or never included at all. The epilogue of book five was way too brief and did not reveal any of the consequences of the series events.  

However, Monarchies of God is good series and definitely worth reading.
Final series rating: 8/10.

Which ASOIAF House are you?

The BookSwede posted a link on his blog to a personality qustionaire that determines which ASOIAF House you belong to. My result:

45% Dominant, 45% Extroverted, 81% Trustworthy

Responsible. Respectable. Dour. That’s not shit coming out of your ass--it’s honor. You are clearly of House Stark.

You are a submissive personality, meaning that you are more than willing to relinquish control to someone more qualified; you will unflinchingly accept any responsibility that is thrust upon you, including servitude. Unfortunately for you, your unending patience and accommodating nature often make people look to you for a leader. In essence, you are the perfect leader: someone who has no desire to lead, yet is substantially well-qualified to do it.

You are also introverted, which means that people sometimes have difficulty understanding your thought process. Your dependable nature makes you predictable, but you’ve probably got all sorts of emotional dysfunctions when it comes to more intimate relationships. There are very few people whom you trust unwaveringly, and you’re not the type to confide in other people. So cold, so aloof--so Stark.

Finally, you are trustworthy--the very definition of the word. All secrets are safe with you. All of your vows are unbreakable. True to your name, you world is a stark place; there is black, and there is white. Your rigidity tends to undercut your overall value as a friend and ally. Honesty such as yours is hard to come by, which is easy to understand when you consider how easily manipulated you are by less decent individuals. Essentially, you’re the nice guy, and you’ll always finish last.

Representative characters include: Eddard Stark, Jon Snow, and Sansa Stark

Similar Houses: Frey, Lannister and Tully

Opposite House: Baratheon

When playing the game of thrones, you play it with one sword in your hand and another up your ass.

I love the last line and I saw the entry for House Frey that just hilarious. See here to take the test yourself.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Dresden Files...

the series you should be reading.

A few months back, at the recommendation of a friend, I started reading the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, on which the Sci-Fi tv show is based. I was immediately hooked and just finished the 9th and most recent book earlier this week. The series is a light and entertaining read about a wizard who solves mysteries and fights evil in Chicago.

The series starts out fairly formulaic and corny, but gets better as it progresses. Background fills out, characters change and develop. The main character himself changes yet still stays the same irreverant wise-cracking smartass. The series mangaes to have real debates on right and wrong, good and evil, without ever taking itself too seriously. Every time I picked up a book it was always an effort to put it down.

There have been nine books so far with about another 12 or so planned. That seems like a lot of books and hopefully Butcher can maintain the level of quality in the series without it turning into the Wheel of Time. I really look forward to the next book.

So read the Dresden Files books and spread the word.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Inferior

One of the books released this week was The Inferior, the first novel by author Peadar Ó Guilín. Here's a synopsis,

There is but one law: eat or be eaten. Stopmouth and his family know of no other life than the daily battle to survive. To live they must hunt rival species, or negotiate flesh-trade with those who crave meat of the freshest human kind. It is a savage, desperate existence. And for Stopmouth, considered slow-witted hunt-fodder by his tribe, the future looks especially bleak. But then, on the day he is callously betrayed by his brother, a strange and beautiful woman falls from the sky. It is a moment that will change his destiny, and that of all humanity, forever.

There's a review of The Inferior by Adam Whitehead on his blog and an interview with Peadar Ó Guilín by the BookSwede.

I can't wait to read this book myself.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bloodheir publishing news

Brian Ruckley just announced that the title of book two of the Godless World will be pusblished simultaneously in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia in June 2008. The third book is slated to be released in the summer of 2009. The image on the left featuring a warrior with a spear is the prototype cover for Bloodheir.

You can read the full news bit on Ruckley's site.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Blade Itself now available

I don't know how I missed this this morning, but The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie is finally available in the US this week. If by some circumstance (like a parallel dimension) you have not heard of this book, check it now!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Releases for the week of September 4

Highlight of the week:

Hunter's Run, George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham

A three-way collaboration with George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham, HUNTER'S RUN tells the tale of Ramon Espejo, a prospector searching for a big strike on a distant world who finds rather more than he bargained for... and along the way must wrestle with what it means to be human.

Hunter's Run will be available in the US in January 2008.


Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing and Levia
than '99
, Ray Bradbury
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Little (Grrl) Lost, Charles de Lint
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Dark Harvest, Norman Partridge
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

Darwinia, Robert Charles Wilson (Revised)
(Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

The H-bomb Girl
, Stephen Baxter
(, Book Depository)

The Inferior, Peadar Ó Guilín

Saturday, September 1, 2007

First Post

Welcome to my new book blog, The Deckled Edge! I’ve thought about doing this for a while and the small stuff I did on LiveJournal wasn’t quite cutting it so I decided to do a full-scale blog. I’m hoping to make mine a little different from some of the other stuff out there. Many book blogs on the Internet have detailed interviews with authors and large in-depth book reviews. My blog’s content will consist mainly of book and author news, new releases, and of course reviews, however, my reviews will be what I call mini-reviews. A short plot summary followed by a quick rundown of what I liked and didn’t like. So let’s get started. I think it would be appropriate to start my new blog with a review.

A Betrayal in Winter is the second book in The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham. A Shadow in Summer introduced the world of the Cities of the Khaiem whose prosperity is dependent on the Andat, beings of energy and concept held in binding by the poets. A rival state, the Galts, sought to disrupt the city of Saraykeht by engineering the release of the andat, Seedless, and several characters on both sides were caught up in the struggle.

Betrayal takes place roughly 15 years later after the collapse of Saraykeht. Two characters from the previous book make a second appearance: Otah Machi, the exiled lordling, and Maati Vaupathai, the poet apprentice. Otah’s father, the Khai of Machi, is dying, his brother is assassinated, influencing Otah to return home. Tradition dictates that the sons of a dying Khai must fight each other until one remains to succeed his father, however, other forces are at work. The Galts are manipulating events behind the scenes allying with others to bring down the ruling house. Once again, the characters are caught in the middle of a stuggle between an expansive empire and the power of the Khaiem cities.

I liked this book and thought it was a bit better than the first. Shadow had to develop enough of the world so the reader could understand the story. It also lulled in places, and at times the characters seemed a little too emotional and overwrought. In Betrayal, the plot is a little more streamlined making for better tension and a faster reading. The characters’ emotional states are better handled as well. What I particularly like about The Long Price Quartet is that it avoids many of the clichés of fantasy: quests, battles, magic. The series is about characters in a world that is fantastical rather than a fantastical world with characters. The ending is ambiguous for both the protagonist and antagonist, neither one has a “happy” outcome. The books are written such that each is more or less stand-alone, being independent of each other except as a common thread of history. I look forward to book three, The Autumn War.

Book rating: 8/10.