Summer returns to the northern hemisphere this month and that typically coincides with a sizeable offering of new books. Publishers know that people are looking for books to take on vacation or to the beach so they flood shelves trying to get attention. As expected, June brings no fewer than twelve books of interest to this YetiStomper.
Kraken - China Mieville
Stand-alone Novel. With last year's excellent but bizzare Urban Fantasy The City and The City and next year's SF Embassytown, Mieville is diversifying his writer portfolio in an number of interesting directions. Kraken, which I believe is already out in the UK, continues that trend. I would try to sum up the plot here, but I don't know where to start. Disappearing Squids, Embryonic Gods, Prehistoric Cults, Sorceror Cops, Billy, Serial Killers, Egyptian Spirits, Londonmancers and more. From everything I've read, it's bizzare and hilarious and scary and just plain awesome. But forget all that, the key word on the cover is Mieville. If you haven't read any of his stuff, you are seriously missing out. Mieville belongs in the same ranks as Neil Gaiman and Michael Chabon and it's only a matter of time until he is recognized as such. (June 29th from Del Rey)
The Passage - Justin Cronin
Stand-alone novel. The Passage is suppossedly THE BOOK off the summer. I've been hearing about this one since before I knew what it was about and the massive marketing campaign that Ballantine is putting will push The Passage to the top of the charts. From early reviews, it sounds like the writing and story would have done that anyway. With Starred Reviews from Publisher's Weekly and comparisons to early Stephen King work, this sorta-vampire tale is poised to blow up. While not traditional vampires, The Passage features a bizarre virus is turning people into bloodthirsty monsters in a America on the brink of apocalypse. Like last year's The Strain, The Passage is promising a return to the horrific vampire monster after years of emo, lovesick, bloodbrooders. (June 8th from Ballantine)
Who Fears Death - Nnedi Okorafor
Stand-alone novel. While fairly well known for her YA novels, Nnedi Okorafor is a name you may not have heard of. But you should have, and you probably will soon. Okorafor is a writer of Nigerian descent who composes beautiful stories replete with African culture and evocative prose. With a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, Who Fears Death is a post-apocalyptic tale set in Africa concerning a young sorceress who must die in order to help her people. If you are looking to push your boundaries and read something atypical for a change, this might be your book. (June 1st from DAW)
Terminal World - Alastair Reynolds
Stand-alone novel. Some would call Alastair Reynolds the biggest name in British SF and I'd be hard pressed to prove them wrong. Terminal World is the latest is Reynolds grand adventures and focuses on a far-future
Stories: All-New Tales - Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, eds.
Genre Anthology. Do you like Neil Gaiman's work? Or Gene Wolfe? Joe Hill? Michael Moorcock? What about Peter Straub? Tim Powers? If you said no to all of those authors, do us all a favor and go back to watching American Idol 26 and CSI: Indianapolis because you are obviously don't have a soul or an imagination. Seriously, who crapped all over your childhood? But I digress. This anthology features one of the most impressive line-ups I've ever seen in a single anthology. Half of the authors are so good that the book store pretends their work isn't actually science fiction/fantasy and shelves it with the "real" books. There is no general theme to the anthology but all stories have a fantastical element to them. Get this now. (June 15th from William Murrow)
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery - Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders, eds.
Themed Genre Anthology. Unlike Stories, Swords & Dark Magic is one that has been on my radar for a long while and been on my hypothetical most anticipated list since I first heard of it. Anders and Strahan set out to create a collection of stories promoting the new wave of Sword and Sorcery fiction that has been washing over the genre in the past few years. With an introduction entitled "Check Your Dark Lord at the Door" you get a sense that S&S 2.0 is both building on and surpassing the tropes of the past. With newer authors such as Joe "Say Fitch and Die" Abercrombie, Steven "Doorstop" Erikson, and Bill "Don't Call Me Fairytale" Willingham and established greats like Gene "Before You Were Born" Wolfe, Michael "I invented the sub-genre" Moorcock and Robert "Grand Master" Silverberg, this is a impressive line-up. I would probably buy this for the Abercrombie story alone but I don't think there is a bad author in the bunch. You can find the full table of contents here. (June 22 from Eos)
The Ware Tetralogy - Rudy Rucker
Omnibus Collection. The Ware Tetralogy is an omnibus edition of the four books in Rudy Rucker's classic cyberpunk series: Software, Wetware, Freeware, and Realware. Concerning the evolution of artificial intelligence and it's bid to take over humanity, this set of books could be considered one of the first books concerning post-human evolution. (June 1 from Prime Books)
Shadow's Son - Jon Sprunk
Shadow Saga, Book 1. Is there anything cooler than a freelance assassin? If there was, it's dead by now. Shadow's Son is Sprunk's novel debut and a book his agent sold as "Batman Begins" as a fantasy novel. The protagonist, Caim "makes his living on the edge of a blade" but he is soon "thrust into the middle of an insidious plot". Shadow's Son is furious and fun fantasy, ready to be devoured on a day at the beach or during a rainy summer day. (June 8th from Pyr)
The Map of All Things - Kevin J. Anderson
Terra Incognita, Book 2. Tie-In legend Kevin J. Anderson returns with the 2nd book in his Terra Incognita sequence. Marketed as an "epic fantasy of sailing ships, crusading armies, sea monsters and enchanted islands", the series is a exciting blend of Pirates of the Caribbean and your favorite fantasy series. I liked the originality of the first book, The Edge of the World and the combination of exploration and full-out war brings something new to the table. The series is also of interest because each book has a companion sound track. (June 21 from Orbit)
The Left Hand of God - Paul Hoffman
Unnamed Trilogy, Book 1. I'm reluctant to include The Left Hand of God on this list but I kept it because I feel it's still worth mentioning. I've seen extremely mixed reviews on this one and a whole lot of hype so I'm not really sure what to believe. The blurb makes the book seem very intriguing so I would recommend checking that out at the very least. This may be one of those love it or hate it type books so read at your own risk. (June 15th from Dutton)
Redemption in Indigo - Karen Lord
Stand-alone novel. Barbadian author Karen Lord gains a starred review with her debut novel from Small Beer Press. Another comfort zone embiggener, I'm definitely interested in checking out my first taste of Caribbean Lit. Based on the reviews and descriptions this has the same adult fairy tale vibe that you might expect from Neil Gaiman or Susanna Clarke. "Lord’s world of spider tricksters and indigo immortals, inspired in part by a Senegalese folk tale, will feel instantly familiar—but Paama’s adventures are fresh, surprising, and utterly original." (June 1st, Small Beer Press)
The Queen of Sinister - Mark Chadbourn
The Dark Age, Book 2. Chadbourn continues his tale of a postapocalyptic Britain devastated by the return of myth and magic in the 2nd book of The Dark Age trilogy in the larger Age of Misrule universe. A must read for anyone who has read the other books. If you grew up fascinated by mythology and legend like I did than you will most likely be captivated by this series. (June 3rd from Pyr)
Although there is plenty to choose from, I have to declare Kraken my YetiStomper Pick for June. Mieville is just that good. Nnedi Okorafor gets follow up honors for the YetiStomper Sort-off Debut for June in Who Fears Death. Even if she weren't a fantastic author, the book would be worth reading just because of the boundary expanding content. But you know you better than I do, read the descriptions and see what sounds good to you. Maybe you want some cyberpunk or some sword and sorcery, who am I to judge? Anyway, as always, if you are interested in more details regarding any of the above books, just click on through the Amazon links. I'm more interested in telling you why I recommended them rather than simply what the books are about. Let me know if there is anything I may have missed in the comments. And which one of these covers is your favorite? My vote goes again to Kraken. Although I also really like The Ware Tetralogy and the quirkiness of Stories.
You can view previous installments of YetiStomper Picks here