Plenty of literary treats this month... I wonder if people would get mad if I handed out books for Halloween.
The Bookman - Lavie Tidhar
The Bookman, Book 1 - Angry Robot continues their plans for global domination with The Bookman, a steampunk novel that is pretty far out there, even for steampunk titles. Tidhar is a brilliant up and comer and with the elements he has to work with (giant lizards, robots, airships, pirates) it's no suprise that this story was well recieved in UK circles earlier this year. (September 28 from Angry Robot)
Behemoth - Scott Westerfeld
Leviathan Trilogy, Book 2 - Leviathan (my review) was a fantastic novel for genre fans of any age, showcasing an alternate version of World War I fought between two bizarrely fascinating factions. My own real complaint was that it ended too soon. The last we read, Deryn and Aleksander were set to deliver some precious cargo to Constantinople so it will be very interesting to see where things go from here. Throw in Keith Thompson's absolutely amazing illustrations and Simon Pulse has another sure winner on their hands. (October 5 from Simon Pulse)
The Half Made World - Felix Gilman
Stand Alone Dystopian Fantasy - High-concept dystopian fiction from another fresh face. Gilman's early work has garnered a lot of praise and from the sound of it, this is his break out novel. In addition to praise for the imaginative world and deep realistic characters, I've seen specific comparisons to Cormac McCarthy (The Road) and Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed). This is one to check out. (October 12 from Tor)
I Shall Wear Midnight - Terry Pratchett
Discworld (Tiffany Aching), Book 38 (4) - Unbelievably, this is the 38th entry in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and specifically the 4th Young Adult novel detailing the exploits of young witch Tiffany Aching. I'd be lying if I've said I've read every Discworld novel but evey one I have read has been full of sharp satire as humorous as it is insightful. (September 28 from HarperCollins)
Surface Detail - Iain M. Banks
The Culture Novels, Book 9 - Do I really need to say anything? Iain M. Banks is back with another Culture novel. This entry focuses on a murdered sex slave reincarnated to avenge her own death and the Culture as they wage war on death itself. It's fast paced, intelligent space opera like only Banks can create. (October 28 from Orbit)
The Wolf Age - James Enge
Morlock the Maker, Book 3 - Morlock Ambrosius returns! Enge writes fantasy with a unique blend of horror and humor that tends to divide readers. In The Wolf Age, Enge focuses his signature style on Wuruyaaria. But how will Morlock navigate the bloody political landscape to achieve the true goal behind his visit to the city of Werewolves? (October 5 from Pyr)
All Clear - Connie Willis
Blackout Duology, Book 2 - Connie Willis originally envisioned Blackout as a single novel set in the same universe as The Doomsday Book where historical research is done by "unobtrusively" time-traveling into the past. What can go wrong? However, upon writing the intended story Willis discovered it was going to end up being physically unpublishable. As a result, Blackout was split into two volumes. All Clear is the second half of the story begun in Blackout in which time historians traveled back to World War II era England and managed to get stuck. (October 5 from Spectra)
Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars, and Other Unusual Encounters - Ken Scholes
Short Story Collection - In a industry where novels are everything, short fiction often falls to the wayside. Ken Scholes is mostly known for his Psalms of Isaak series but he also maintains a strong portfolio of excellent shorts. Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars, and Other Unusual Suspects is the 2nd short story collection from Scholes and contains 17 stories, including a pair set in the Psalms of Isaak universe. If you are a completist like me, or just happen to like quality short ficion, definitely give Mimes and Czars a chance. Plus, Mimes! and Czars! (October 19 from Fairwood Press)
King Maker - Maurice Broaddus
The Knights of Breton Court, Book 1 - Urban Fantasy rarely gets more literal than this. Set in Indianapolis, King Maker is the first book in a modern day retelling of Arthurian Legend with gang members instead of knights wielding handguns in addition to mythic swords. This fresh take on King Arthur has been out in the UK for a number of months and is finally hitting American bookshelves. (September 28 from Angry Robot)
The Dragon's Apprentice - James A. Owen
Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, Book 5 - If you aren't up to date on the Imaginarium Geographica, you should be. It's a YA fantasy series intentionally layered to be read by multiple age groups. Kids will gravitate to the fantastic adventures Owen writes while adults will appreciate the meta-level literary references he weaves into his work. If you are looking for something to read to your kids that will entertain you as much as them (and possibly even get them to read a classic or two), try this series. Owen is five books into the seven book series which should keep your kids (and yourself) reading for quite some time. (October 19 from Simon & Schuster)
The Company Man - Robert Jackson Bennett
Stand Alone Alternate History / Steampunk - Earlier I mentioned that King Maker was making its US debut despite being available in the UK for months. Well The Company Man is another of those UK only releases. US fans will have to wait until next April to see Robert Jackson Bennett's sophomore effort after the excellent Mr. Shivers. The Company Man focuses on some abnormal occurences in a 1920s alternate America. When eleven union workers are discovered dead on a subway car, it appears all is not right within America's largest corporation. (October 7 from Orbit)
The Cardinal's Blades - Pierre Pevel
The Cardinal's Blades, Book 1 - Pierre Pevel is a well-known, award-winning French author but his works have yet to be translated into English. Until now. Pyr is finally bringing The Cardinal's Blades to American audiences. A historical fantasy set in seventeenth century France, The Cardinal's Blades focuses on a covert group of the same name focused on protecting France's interests in an alternate Europe where dragons are a part of everyday life. (October 5 from Pyr)
Passion Play - Beth Bernobich
The Erythandra Series, Book 1 - A sure contender for debut of the year, Passion Play is Renaissance fantasy from a rising genre star. So far, the biggest complaint I've seen is that riveted readers will have to wait until Book 2 for more. There's romance, intrigue, sex, magic, violence - basically everything you could want in a fantasy series. Be forewarned, Passion Play does contain some sexual violence. (October 12 from Tor)
Kill the Dead - Richard Kadrey
Sandman Slim, Book 2 - For being the home to Halloween, October sure is short on Urban Fantasy. The only real contender is Kill the Dead, the 2nd entry in the Sandman Slim sequence. James Stark fought his way out of hell to avenge his girlfriend's death in Book 1. Now he's playing bodyguard for the devil himself. What could go wrong? Kadrey writes noir fiction with a darker edge than most Urban Fantasy authors. Don't expect Twilight. Expect something worth reading. (October 5 from Eos)
YetiStomper Pick Of The Month: This one is like picking Snickers or Reese's on your neighbor's doorstep. You've got a caramel covered stand-alone in Felix Gilman's promising The Half Made World but Scott Westerfield's first Leviathan book was a delicious blend of literary chocolate and visual peanut butter. There's no indication Behemoth will be any different. Why not just take both? Both Behemoth and The Half Made World are my YetiStomper Picks of the Month.
YetiStomper Debut Of The Month: While I haven't read it yet, I've been hearing a lot of positive buzz around Beth Bernobich's Passion Play. I've yet to read it (it's on the top of a very deep pile) but I've read plenty of her short stuff as part of my Authors Worth Watching campaign. She's the real deal and her blend of fantasy is traditional world building with more than a pinch of spice. If you are a looking for a new voice, Passion Play is the book for you.
YetiStomper Cover Of The Month: If Behemoth's cover was anything like Leviathan's it had the potential to walk away with this category. Unfortunately, they dropped the ball big time so the door is wide open for a new champion. The Wolf's Age is a well-executed take on a fantasy cover. The noir atmosphere comes through the deep blues and shadowy character on The Company Man. However, the clear winner is Richard Kadrey's Kill the Dead. I absolutely love the colors and the way they are bright but gloomy at the same time. The picture just oozes atmosphere and it conveys a sense of foreboding that is hard to ignore. The scene plays out in my mind as a quiet evening in some generic industrial park. The silence is broken by a single gunshot, throwing birds into the air like buckshot. Cool stuff for sure. And the Worst? I know Fairwood Press is a small press but the cover to Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars is almost too bad to be unintentional. It's like photoshop and Roger Corman had a baby. Which one do you like most/least?
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.
You can view previous installments of YetiStomper Picks here.