Jul 1, 2010

YetiStomper Picks for July

With July comes the begins of the second half of the year. While I think the first half of 2010 presented a much stronger showing, there are still quite a few great books in the future, both stand-alones and series continuations. I've also noticed and significant uptick in the number and quality of anthologies. I haven't the slightest why that is but it's cool to see nonetheless. The 2nd month of summer brings us a dozen titles worth mentioning.

Note: I've noticed I've been rambling on in past YetiPicks so I am going to tighten up my blurbs and save everyone some time. If you want to know more about the books, go through the links or use the mighty and all-powerful Google.

The Dervish House - Ian McDonald

Stand-Alone SF Novel. A sure contender for all the top SF prizes, The Dervish House is Ian McDonald's first new novel since 2007's absolutely fantastic Brasyl. Like River of Gods and the aforementioned Brasyl, The Dervish House is McDonald's take on a future state of a particular country or culture, in this case, Turkey. I've been waiting for this book for a while and expect great things. (July 27th from Pyr)

Masked - Lou Anders (ed.)

Superhero Themed Original Anthology. Genre superstar editor Lou Anders continues his output of themed anthologies with Masked. Originally titled With Great Power, Masked promises superhero prose, a subject that is actually fairly underrepresented. Anders assembled both prose authors and comic book writers for this anthology and the Table of Contents looks great. I'm particulary excited for the Daryl Gregory, Mike Carey, Chris Roberson and Bill Willingham stories. (July 20th from Gallery)

Tongues of Serpents - Naomi Novik 

Temeraire, Book Six. Novik returns to her dragon filled alternate history with Tongues of Serpents. Capt Will Laurence and Temeraire are back and this time destined for Australia and a prison colony in the midst of political upheaval. The Temeraire books have all the fun of dragon centered stories but the additional benefit of alternate history elements, making them some of (if not) the best dragon fantasies being written today. (July 13th from Del Rey)

The Fuller Memorandum - Charles Stross

The Laundry Files, Book 3. Have you ever asked yourself what would happen when you pit Lovecraftian Horror against your company's IT guy? Probably not, although you may have wished it upon him. Stross's Laundry Files series does just that, mixing science fiction, horror, spy novels, and more than a bit of geekery in a fairly absurd but completely unique fashion. I'd almost call it Urban Science Fiction. (July 6th from Ace)

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance - Sean Williams

Star Wars Novel. Now Star Wars novels are frequently not worth focusing on too much. If you read SW you know they are coming and if you don't you aren't going to jump on midway through book 83. Fatal Alliance is a bit difference as it is the first piece of fiction in a completely unexplored era in Star Wars history. Focusing on the characters and backstory of next year's absolutley huge The Old Republic MMORPG (Bioware/Lucasarts), Fatal Alliance is set three and a half millenia before A New Hope at a time when the Jedi of the Old Republic maintain an uneasy peace with a less than trustworthy Sith Empire. (Check out this awesome trailer for more info). Fatal Alliance represents a great jumping on point for anyone interested in the upcoming MMORPG or Star Wars fiction in general. (July 20th from Del Rey)

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection - Gardner Dozois (ed.)

Year's Best Reprint Anthology. I don't think I need to say much here. Hall of Fame editor Dozois continues his Year's Best series with hundreds of thousand of words of outstanding fiction. While I feel like these books could be improved by publishing fewer stories, there is still plenty to be excited about with these anthologies. (July 6th from St. Martin's Griffin)

Gateways - Elizabeth A. Hull (ed.)

Frederick Pohl Inspired Original Anthology - Pohl is one of the true grandmasters of science fiction and it shows here with the number of absolute genre giants that have written original pieces for this tribute anthology. I mean there are a lot of good anthologies but few have the historical weight that is present in the Table of Contents. Wolfe, Silverberg, Haldeman, Brin, Niven, Benford, Bova, the list goes on and on. One nitpick is that while this claims to be an original anthology, I believe a few of the stories are reprints. Still, wow... (July 6th from Tor)

Black Lung Captain - Chris Woodring

Tales of the Ketty Jay, Book 2 - Unfortunately a UK-only release, Black Lung Captain is a return to the universe of Retribution Falls. Fun, adventureous science ficiton, Retribution Falls got stellar reviews and I think the entire British Empire is excited for Black Lung Captain. One comparison I've seen thrown around on multiple occassions is "Firefly" and if that holds true it should be impressive indeed. (July 29th from Gollancz [UK only])

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour - Scott O' Malley

Scott Pilgrim, Book 6. This might be my most anticipated book of the bunch. Scott Pilgrim is a blend of video games, music, teen love and angst, and general geekery that is also being made into a movie later this year.  The absurdity of the story is only surpassed by its unexplicable charm. This is the last book in the series and will see Scott Pilgrim battle (yes, battle) the seventh and final ex-boyfriend of Ramona's. If you like indie comics and are looking for something unique and hilarious, look no further than Scott Pilgrim. (July 20 from Oni Press)

Virga: Cities of the Air - Karl Schroeder

Virga Omnibus Reprint, Books 1+2. Schroeder's SF adventure series didn't get the attention it deserved in it's hardcover print run and Tor is giving it another go with a set of trade paperback beautifully covered by Stephan Martiniere. Sun of Suns and Queen of Candesce will be combined into Virga: Cities of the Air and the third book Pirate Sun will be reprinted later this fall. The Virga series currently sits at 3 books though two more are currently planned.  (July 6th from Tor)

The Lifecycle of Software Objects - Ted Chiang

Stand-alone SF Novella. Chiang's longest work to date concerns the best way to develop artificial intelligence, particularly if said intelligence is more human than your typical AI. I've already read and reviewed Lifecycle (review here) and while I was impressed with Chiang's evocative prose I found that it felt like Chiang was having a little difficulty with the longer structure. Even so it's stil a quick, enjoyable read and I've seen a few other reviews that didn't have the same issues with the ending that I did. (July 31st from Subterranean Press)

The Hounds of Avalon - Mark Chadbourn

The Dark Age, Book 3. Chadbourn concludes his The Dark Age trilogy and 2nd Age of Misrule Triptych with The Hounds of Avalon. While the cover looks like a oversized yorkshire terrier, these books are full of rich mythology and adventure as the UK attempts to survive an invasion of legend (June 3rd from Pyr)

The clear favorite for YetiStomper Pick of the month has to be The Dervish House. McDonald is just that good and anyone not reading his stuff is doing themselves a disservice. I typically have a YetiStomper Debut to focus on as well but I don't have any new debuts on my radar in July. Please let me know if I'm missing something. 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 The Dervish House. Gateways is pretty strong as well.
You can view previous installments of YetiStomper Picks here.

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