Mar 31, 2010

YetiStomper Picks for April

April 1st. April Fool's Day. While it's tempting to spotlight A Dance With Dragons and Harper Lee's new Sci-Fi Lovecraftian Hybrid, I would like to retain something of a reputation here. If you are looking for new books, these are worth checking out, no joke.

Ghosts of Manhattan - George Mann

Steampunk meets superhero in George Mann's latest novel from Pyr. Set back in the decadent 20s, Ghosts of Manhattan is a noir vision of an alternate New York City full of vigilantes, mobsters, and more. George Mann's other steampunk work (Newbury & Hobbes) is very enjoyable so it will be interesting to see how he works in the pulp/superhero feel. Another great Pyr cover!

Changes - Jim Butcher

The Dresden Files, Book 12 - The Dresden Files is my favorite Urban Fantasy series, no exceptions. Butcher's voice as Dresden is top notch and the series only continues to get better. While most series stagnate after a few volumes, The Dresden Files have continued to evolve along with the central character. Dresden continues to rise in the ranks of his wizarding society, making increasingly powerful friends and foes. This book features the return of former reporter and love-interest, Susan Rodriguez, whose daughter bears a striking resemblance to Chicago's favorite wizard. A must read for sure.

Up Jim River - Michael Flynn

The January Dancer Universe, Book 2 - Flynn's last book, The January Dancer, came and went with a lot of critical acclaim but didn't seem to get the attention it deserved. Later this month, Flynn is returning to the same SF universe and many of the same characters in a new adventure. Up Jim River follows a group of renegade explorers as they explore an incredible river on a backwater planet, one that holds many secrets in its winding branches and treacherous bayous. The January Dancer was advertised as The Maltese Falcon IN SPACE, this may be Flynn's take on The African Queen or any of a number of Amazon adventures.

Under Heaven - Guy Gavriel Kay

Unbelievably, I haven't read any of Guy Gavriel Kay's work to date. Shame on me, I know. From everything I've read about him, he is one of the best fantasy writers working today. From what I've read about Under Heaven, this book could be one of the best speculative fiction novels of the year. Set in a fantasy world rooted in an 8th century Chinese culture, Under Heaven promises a unique story that begins when a poor man is unexpectedly given a gift fit for an Emperor. Between Kay's reputation and the hype from early reviews, this is another must read for anyone who considers themselves a serious genre fan.

Bitter Seeds - Ian Tregillis

The Milkweed Triptych, Book 1 - Ian Tregillis is one of my next round of Authors Worth Watching and his debut novel is one I've been anticipating since I first heard the tagline: "It’s 1939. The Nazis have supermen, the British have demons, and one perfectly normal man gets caught in between." Daniel Abraham (whose work I love) has had very, very high praise for this series, saying "It's pretty much the coolest structure for a trilogy I've ever seen." Those two quotes had me sold and this is one of my most anticipated debuts of the year. Plus it's got Nazis and Demons in an alternate WWII, what's not to love?

Dragonfly Falling - Adrian Tchaikovsky

Shadows of the Apt - Adrian Tchaikovsky returns to the visceral world of The Shadows of the Apt with the US release of Dragonfly Falling. Dragonfly Falling combines personal conflicts with battles on a more epic scale and the insect based culture makes this series distinct among other comparable modern fantasies. This series also has the benefit of being released shotgun style from Pyr so if you start reading now, you can read the first three books back to back to back.

New Model Army - Adam Roberts

The good news is that Adam Roberts' new novel sounds awesome. The bad news is that it won't be out until March 10th, 2011 in the US. Huzzah for the Book Depository and Free Global Shipping! New Model Army is advertised as "a terrifying vision of a near future war - a civil war that tears the UK apart as new technologies allow the world's first truly democratic army to take on the British army and wrest control from the powers that be." I love SF that has one foot in the present and this book appears to be just that.

WWW: Watch - Robert J. Sawyer

WWW Trilogy, Book 2 - Robert Sawyer is responsible for another book with one foot in the present. WWW: Watch, the sequel to last year's WWW: Wake, continues the story of Caitlin Decter and the emerging internet based consciousness referred to as Netmind. Netmind is seen as a threat by certain portions of the US government and must be shut down. But how? Sawyer is one of Science Fiction's best writers and he manages to make his work realistic, interesting, and human, something atypical in a genre that is increasingly obsessed with distant futures and posthuman plotlines.

The Emerald Storm - Michael J. Sullivan

The Riyria Revelations, Book 4 - Michael J. Sullivan is an author who has quietly been up to some pretty cool things. His series, The Riyria Revelations, is being published by small press outfit Ridan Publishing and supported by targeted internet marketing campaigns rather than expensive, shotgun style publicity. Sullivan himself is very internet aware, often reaching out to new bloggers before any of the mainstream publishers are willing to give them the light of day. The series itself focuses on The Emerald Storm is Book 4 in this 6 book series and the books have been releasing on a twice yearly basis (starting with The Crown Conspiracy) so you only have to wait until next April to get the full story. All books have been written so you don't need to worry about him GRRMing you to death. They are also very affordable Kindle books, if that's your preferred method of absorbing fiction. This is a series a lot of people aren't aware of and one that's worth taking a look at.

Shine: An Anthology of Optimistic SF - Jetse de Vries

One of the biggest problems with science fiction is its dystopic nature. It's easy to predict ways in which the world takes a turn for the worst. It's much harder to fix things and even more so to do so in a way that also offers interesting storytelling opportunities. Jetse de Vries has pulled together a "collection of near-future, optimistic SF stories where some of the genre’s brightest stars and some of its most exciting new talents portray the possible roads to a better tomorrow." Featuring short fiction by Alastair Reynolds, Kay Kenyon, Lavie Tidhar, and Jason Stoddard among others, this anthology offers a glass half full approach to SF. Additionally, there is a Shine Anthology Blog that expands on the anthology theme by providing an open source platform for promoting and discussing optimistic SF.

April is yet another strong month and one that will likely see the reading pile graduate into a small hill. I'm declaring Under Heaven my YetiStomper Pick for April with the YetiStomper Debut going to Bitter Seeds. I'm very excited to read both. 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?

You can view previous installments of YetiStomper Picks here


  1. Well, you got me: my heart stopped when I saw "Harper Lee" and "sci-fi." My website was built for me by the society for Horton Foote, the brilliant screenplay writer for Mockingbird, so I have a strong and totally unjustified sense of protectiveness for the Harper Lee name. By the way, today inaugurates National Poetry Month--and that's no joke!

  2. I read Ghosts of Manhattan (fun and exactly what is advertised), Up Jim River (M. Flynn's take on Jack Vance's the Gaean Reach - the Up Jim River thingy is a metaphor for heading into the dangerous unknown - good but flawed mixing his Celtic space opera style weirdness with weird planet cultures a la Vance does not work that great and hence the novel is not quite at The January Dancer level), Bitter Seeds which is awesome and the best debut of 2010 as writing goes, Dragonfly Falling (read on UK publication and is very good but the series reaches its apogee in Salute the Dark), The Emerald Storm, another series apogee so far and an excellent novel.

    I have New Model Army on preorder from BD and will read on receive most likely and I have just got a review copy of Shine which I plan to read in-between novels this month, while I declined an offer for an arc of Under Heaven since I have not been a GGK fan so far, but I will check it out on publication due to the buzz received


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