Jul 10, 2011

YetiStomper Picks for July

Stop. Please. Or at least slow down, for the love of all things ~(;,,;)~ . I can't keep up, much less catch up on everything else.

Here are the 18 books I've tracked for July, the largest single month of recommendations in Stomping on Yeti history. The funny thing? Out of the three biggest books of the month (A Dance With Dragons / Ghost Story / Rule 34), none were originally scheduled to be published this month.

Flashback - Dan Simmons

Stand Alone - If you would have asked me a month ago, the newest novel from Hugo and World Fantasy Award winning author Dan Simmons would have been on the top of my most wanted list (well after A Dance With Dragons, who am I kidding). Flashback warns of a world where a drug that enables you to experience the most euphoric moments of your life has all but crippled the United States. Can flashback-addict Nick Bottom "change the course of an entire nation turning away from the future to live in the past?" There's no denying it's an intriguing premise - but is that enough to ignore the slate of early reviews accusing Simmons of overt racism and OSC-class politiking? I'll file this one under "Approach With Caution." (July 1 from Reagan Arthur)

A Dance With Dragons - George R. R. Martin

A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 5 - Either you knew this was coming or you didn't. But let's pretend you were in a coma for the last 8 years. The Chinese Democracy of fantasy novels, A Dance With Dragons tells the the rest of the story only partially depicted in A Feast for Crows, much to the chagrin of GRRMbling fans. It's bee nearly a decade but we'll finally find out what Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister have been up to since we last left them in A Storm of Swords. (July 12 from Bantam)

The Clockwork Rocket - Greg Egan

Orthogonal, Book 1 - Greg Egan's latest combines the themes of Theordore Sturgeon's classic "Microcosmic God" with Einstein's exploration of relativistic time dilation in a hard SF novel sure to challenge readers (in a good way). Yalda's world is in danger of being obliterated by an extraterrestrial threat, yet the technology that might save them might not be invented for generations. But if a science vessel is launched at a high enough speed, they'd be able to complete decades of research while only a few years pass "at home." Confused yet? Now imagine that all of this takes place in a universe where the laws of physics as we know them don't apply. (July 4 from Night Shade Books)

Ghost Story - Jim Butcher

Dresden Files, Book 13 - I won't spoil it for those who are still catching up but rarely does a book live up to its title than Butcher's 12th entry in the Dresden Files, Changes. Fans of the series have been dying to know what happened to I CAN'T BELIEVED YOU LOOKED! WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BE SPOILED? and after being pushed from it's original March pub date, it's finally time to find out. The Dresden Files is the single best Paranormal Detective / Urban Fantasy series on shelves right now and it's not even close. (July 26 from Roc)

Heart of Iron - Ekaterina Sedia

Stand Alone - Ugh. Not another tale of historical intrigue set in 19th century Russia riffing on a potential war between the great powers of Britain, Russia, and China. That subgenre is so played out. Why can't Ekaterina Sedia just do something interesting for a change..? Falser words were never spoken. With Heart of Iron, Sedia cements her place as a font of original speculation in a genre that innovates far less than it would admit. (July 26 from Prime)

Dead Iron - Devon Monk

The Age of Steam, Book 1 - On the subject of  paranormal detectives, Urban Fantasy stalwart Devon Monk shifts her attentions from sulty spellcasters to steampunk werewolves with Dead Iron, the first entry in a new series which combines elements from the two hottest publishing trends into a foggy, fast paced free-for-all. (July 5 from Roc)

Star Wars: Choices of One - Timothy Zahn

Star Wars, Rebellion Era - It's been 20 years since Timothy Zahn reintroduced the Star Wars universe to readers everywhere with his spectacular Thrawn trilogy. Two decades later, Zahn returns to the galaxy far far away with another adventure set during the dark days of the Rebellion when Vader still lurked among the stars, the Battle of Yavin was a recent memory, and Luke still thought he had a chance with Leia. All the familiar faces return, including Zahn's own creations - Mara Jade and the Hand of Judgement. (July 19 from Del Rey / Lucas Books)

Hell Ship - Philip Palmer

Stand Alone - Is there anything more fun than self-aware pulp fiction? Philip Palmer and Orbit deliver more genre goodness with Hell Ship, a SF novel in the same vein as their previous collaborations Red Claw and Version 43. The titular vessel is a intergalactic slave ship, devastating worlds and taking the remnants captive. For obvious reasons, forces inside and out plot the Hell Ship's destruction - but will they succeed?  (July 1 from Orbit)

Heaven's Shadow - David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt

Heaven's Trilogy, Book 1 - "The science fiction epic of our time has arrived." While I wouldn't go quite that far, there's no denying that The Dark Knight scribe Goyer and his co-conspirator Cassutt are swinging for the fences. Heaven's Shadow, the first in a trilogy of first contact, has already been optioned for film. Here's the text trailer "Three years ago, an object one hundred miles across was spotted on a trajectory for Earth's sun. Now, its journey is almost over. As it approaches, two competing manned vehicles race through almost half a million kilometers of space to reach it first. But when they both arrive on the entity, they learn that it has been sent toward Earth for a reason. An intelligent race is desperately attempting to communicate with our primitive species. And the message is: Help us." Grab your popcorn! (July 5 from Ace)

Rule 34 - Charles Stross

Halting State, Book 2 - In quite possibly the least googleable book in recent history, Charles Stross returns to the world of 2007's Halting State for another police procedural. That is, if your hour long crime drama is set ten years in the future, chronicles internet crimes so bleeding edge their not quite illegal yet, and is uniquely presented in second person perspective. And the best part? The book kept getting delayed after the stuff Stross dreamt up, actually came true. Multiple times. (July 5 from Ace)

The Goblin Corps - Ari Marmell

Stand Alone - Ever tire of all that Elfing Hero Propaganda? You know what I'm talking about - child of prophecy journeys accross vast distances, overcomes impossible odds, blah blah blah. Ari Marmell finally tells the other side of the story in The Goblin Corps, an "alternative" fantasy which sets out to sarcastically prove that just because life is nasty, brutish, and short in the dark lands of Kirol Syrreth doesn't mean it isn't also a lot of fun. "Welcome to the Goblin Corps. May the best man lose." (July 26 from Pyr)

Heartless - Gail Carriger

The Parasol Protectorate, Book 4 - Steampunk alternate history meets urban fantasy once more in Heartless, the penultimate book in The Parasol Protectorate. Carriger's latest outing follows Lady Alexia Maccon once more as she attempts to save the queen from a maniacal ghost among other paranormal problems. (June 28 from Orbit)

7th Sigma - Steven Gould

Stand Alone - Gould, the author of the popular Jumper books, switches microscopic gears from teleporation to self-replicating nanotechnology in his latest book, 7th Sigma. The territory is a dangerous land, plagued by self-replicating, solar-powered, metal-masticating machines. Yet life prevails, rebuilt on a platform of plastic, ceramic and wood. Kimble Monroe is one of the hardy few that chose to remain in the American Southwest among the swarms of synthetic bugs. He's also one in a billion. Intrigued? I am. (July 5 from Tor)

Vortex - Robert Charles Wilson

Spin Books, Book 3 - After the delightful diversion that was Julian Comstock, Robert Charles Wilson returns to the universe of 2006's Hugo-award winning Spin which continues to spin further and further out of control. In Spin, a mysterious group of powers known as "the Hypotheticals" quarantined Earth and catapulted it into the far future of the universe. Two books later and it's time to find out why as their motives are ultimately revealed. Like fellow Canadian SF author Robert J. Sawyer, Wilson specializes in approachable character based science fiction and his talents are on display once again. (July 5 from Tor)

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-eighth Annual Collection - Gardner Dozois, ed.

The Year's Best Science Fiction, Book 28 - After 27 entries, Dozois's yearly collection of science fiction shorts is an undeniable genre staple. Whether you're looking to wrap your brain around some new ideas or just discover a few new authors to satisfy novel needs, you won't find a better place to start than Dozois's latest weighty tome. (July 5 from St. Martin's Griffin)

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day - Ben Loory

Short Story Collection - Ben Loory's a new name on my radar but a interesting one. His relatively short collection is just over two hundred pages in length but boasts forty of the most peculiar (and often hilarious) stories I've ever read. Loory's short shorts feel like modern day fairy tales, albeit ones told by a Mother Goose with a penchant for hallucinogenics and whose eggs are more than a little scrambled. His style bundles complex themes in purposefully simplistic prose packages, providing plenty of dialogue tags bur far fewer conclusions. Frustration has never been this much fun. (July 26 from Penguin)

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities - Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, eds.

Thackery T. Lambshead Anthologies, Book 2 - If we're talking about things that belong in a curious cabinet, look no further than the VanderMeers' latest anthology. Fans of their editorial projects may recognize Thackery T. Lambshead as the fictional doctor responsible for compiling a collection of bizarre but entertaining diseases. Apparently he also had an affinity for collecting oddities as was apparently discovered in his imaginary home after his fictional death. In truth, a number of noted genre authors and artists have come together to stock his strange shelves, combining visual and written elements to create an anthology unlike any I've ever seen. Ted Chiang, China Mieville,  Mike Mignola and Alan Moore are only a few of the names that helped compile this abstract anthology of "exhibits, oddities, images, and stories" (July 12 from Harper Voyager)

Paradise Tales - Geoff Ryman

Short Story Collection - Small Beer Press's niche collections have always been a great place to find "Not Ready For Prime Time Players" in the speculative fiction space. Which isn't to say Ryman isn't ready for the big leagues. Quite the opposite in fact - Ryman already has 7 novels under his belt, including the BSFA and Arthur C. Clarke winning modern masterpiece Air: Or, Have Not Have. Which is probably why Ryman's first collection of SF tales - mundane and not - earned a Starred Review from Publisher's Weekly. (July 12 from Small Beer Press)

YetiStomper Pick Of The Month: It's a good time to be George R. R. Martin (or if not him, one his fans). The almost flawless adaptation of Game of Thrones is HBO's newest smash hit. The graphic novel is due out in September from Dynamite Entertainment, to be penned by Yeti-favorite Daniel Abraham and illustrated by Tommy Patterson. And of course, Kong itself - the release of the book 5 years in the making. This month's YetiStomper Picks features more books than any other month in this blog's short history but out of all those books, only Jim Butcher's Ghost Story had even a shot of upsetting A Dance With Dragons for YetiStomper Pick of the Month. Now, I'm not fully caught up with A Song of Ice and Fire just yet but what I've read thus far has more than lived up to the hype. The only question is can A Dance With Dragons possibly live up to the colossal expectations placed upon it by the prolonged wait? The early word? - Yes!

YetiStomper Debut Of The Month: There is a man. The man wrote a story. It was made up of smaller stories. The stories say everything and nothing. There is another man. He read the first man's story of stories. He was impressed. "I will pick this book," he says. Which is how Stories for Nighttime (and Some for the Day) came be July's YetiStomper Debut of the Month. Loory uses refreshingly simple prose while exploring  frustratingly elusive themes, resulting in a book that goes down smooth but leaves a pleasant aftertaste for you to mull over in your mind. I'm still not sure if Loory's debut is crazy good or just plain crazy but I'll admit I enjoyed it immensely. Undoubtedly the best collection I've read since Livia Llewellyn's Engines of Desire.

YetiStomper Cover Of The Month: Hmmmm.... Where did this go? Stay tuned to find out...eventually

Anyway, as always, if you are interested in more details regarding any of the above books, just click on through the Amazon links. And don't worry, thanks to new state legislation, I don't get a single penny, nickel, or dime from it. It's been hard restructuring my budget without that extra $10 a year but I think I'll survive. Be sure to let me know if there is anything I may have missed in the comments.

You can view previous installments of YetiStomper Picks here.


  1. Heart of Iron was offered through NetGalley, so I grabbed my chance at a copy since I keep hearing that Sedia's work is well worth reading, but alas I haven't been able to give it a try yet since that publisher hasn't enabled Kindle access for the e-ARC. Shame, since otherwise I probably would have read and reviewed it by now, as I was quite interested in it!

  2. It is a sick month for genre releases. There are 10 releases above I want to read or have already read (7th Sigma/Vortex). Good thing I have a real vacation at the end of the month to catch-up a little. My re-read of A Song of Ice and Fire certainly put me behind schedule as well, but it was definitely worth it as so much had faded, especially from A Feast for Crows (still the weakest in the series).


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