Sep 29, 2011

YetiStomper Picks for September

Sorry Yetifans. I know this is late. Really late. Legendarily late. Or as I like to call it, "exactly on yeti standard time." To be truthful, I was doing a little experiment. I've suspected for months that io9 takes my YetiStomper Picks, subtracts one book, adds another and then claims that it as their own "original" picks for the month. I originally became suspicious when they copied my selection of A Dance With Dragons as a "highly anticipated" book. Bastards...

But it turns out, when I didn't post my selections this month, neither did they. That and my tinfoil hat prevented them from looking directly into my brain. Reynold's Wrap, humanity would be lost without you.

Or I was just a lazy ball of blogger this month. Your pick. Either way, better late than never, right?

Reamde - Neal Stephenson

Stand Alone, Book - As prolific as some writers are, Stephenson might put them all to shame. Less than a year after the hernia inducing Anathem, we've got another kilopage tome to get us through the winter months. Both as reading material and combustible fuel. And if a thousand pages a year doesn't impress you enough, bear in mind that Stephenson writes his novels longhand. Reamde is the latest entry in a new wave of MMORPG-centric cyberpunk thrillers which blend all aspects of twenty first century culture into a reality spanning epic. You know - billionaires, hackers, organized crime, terrorists, computer viruses, twitter - the usual.  Early reviews are calling it Stephenson's most accessible book yet - but is that a good thing? (September 20 from William Morrow)

Ganymede - Cherie Priest

The Clockwork Century, Book 4 - The first of two Cherie Priest books due out this month, Ganymede continues chronicling The Clockwork Century, a steampunk alternate American timeline in which the Civil War was never won and the West was never tamed. The titular Ganymede is a mysterious submarine that could finally end the decades long war in the North's favor, if only they could figure out how to use it. Andan Cly is the man whose been tasked to do just that, provided it doesn't kill him first. Personally, I'm getting a little bit tired of steampunk but The Clockwork Century is a series that has me hooked through til the end.  (September 27 from Tor)

Goliath - Scott Westerfeld

The Leviathan Trilogy, Book 3 - Okay, maybe I spoke too soon. Like Ganymede, Scott Westerfeld's steampunk series showcases a historic war with a steampunk slant. In the Leviathan Trilogy, it's World War I all over again but nothing like you the one you learned about it school. Now the Allied Powers pit genetically engineered "Darwinist" creations against walking mechanized monstrosities fielded by the Central Powers. Goliath follows young protagonists Deryn and Alek as they continue their mysterious mission around the world, stopping in Japan before heading to New York for the climatic conclusion of Westerfeld's YA trilogy. I'm about 10 years out of the YA target demographic but that doesn't make this series any less fun. If you're looking for something you can read along with your kids, Westerfeld is your guy. (September 20 from Simon Pulse)

The Girl of Fire and Thorns - Rae Carson

The Fire and Thorns Trilogy, Book 1 - I don't always read debut YA fantasy novels about princesses but when I do they better be worth reading. Fortunately, Rae Carson can deliver the goods. With a strong female lead, clever supporting cast, and mature yet effortless prose, Carson's take on world spanning fantasy represents the future of YA fiction. Carson has already been compared to the likes of Turner and Cashore; don't be surprised if new authors are labeled as "the next Rae Carson" in a few years. (September 20 from Greenwillow)

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

Stand Alone - Are creepy circuses (circii?) the new vampires zombies steampunk? Just when I thought Genevieve Valentine was a lock for "best debut circus and/or vaudeville themed novel of 2011," Erin Morgenstern comes out of nowhere with another atmospheric tale more than worth the price of admission. Morgenstern's dark and moody debut has earned starred reviews from every legit source I've ever heard of (and several I haven't). Le Cirque des Reves features two rival magicians - and if they're not careful - for a limited time only. (September 13 from Doubleday)

Debris - Jo Anderton

The Veiled Worlds, Book 1 - Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, correct? Such is the station of futuristic pionner Tanyana, a woman with the ability to manipulates the building blocks of matter itself. At least until she is framed for an accident she didn't commit. Can a technoalchemist ever catch a break? Angry Robot brings us another fantastic debut as Anderton produces a breakneck novel on the driving strength of her first person perspective. (September 27 from Angry Robot)

Spellbound - Blake Charlton

The Spellwright Trilogy , Book 2 - Upstart novelist / medical student / professional shame shaman Blake Charlton returns to make you feel like an abject failure [but I'm at least the 121,594th best book blogger out there!] with the second volume of his Spellwright Trilogy. While he's not saving lives, Dr. Charlton relaxes by penning his own take on traditional fantasy. The Spellwright series focuses on Nicodemus Weal, complete failure and/or the only one who can stop the demonic Typhon from devouring human language itself. Well that's okay, we can just play charades right? Wrong. Language serves as the foundation of Charlton's complex and highly original magic system, so its annihilation might cause a few problems. Problems that Weal himself is intimately familiar with - a demonic curse (guess who) has prevented him from stringing a simple magical sentence together without chaotic consequences since an early age. But don't let the thinly veiled dyslexia metaphor stop you, Spellbound is fantasy at his finest. I would, however, recommend starting with Spellwright (Book 1) to get the full effect. (September 13 from Tor)

Hellbent - Cherie Priest

The Cheshire Red Reports, Book 2 - How funny is it that there are two books this month by different authors both named Cherie Priest? You would think that they would pick different pen names. I mean, one is writing about airships, smugglers, and steampunk submarines; the other is writing about vampire thieves, cross dressing ex-Navy SEALs, and ancient penis parts. That Venn diagram looks like a solar system map of Mercury and Pluto. [Is to a planet!]. And by that I mean there's no overlap. Except for me. Oh, and whoever likes good stories. Like the one that Cherie Priest #2 started with her highly entertaining "Chesire Red Reports" back in January's Bloodshot. With unforgettable characters, potentially gratuitous levels of violence, and "wit" that's one smart-ass comment away from being full blown snark, Hellbent demonstrates that you don't need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to urban fantasy; you just need to make it well rounded, get it moving and run some stuff over. Between Hellbent and Ganymede, good luck picking which Priest to worship. Unless they are by freak occurrence the same person. But that would just be weird.

Update: I'm an idiot. (September 6 from Spectra)

One Salt Sea - Seanan McGuire

October Daye, Book 5 - Multi-pseudonymous author Seanan McGuire continues her series of faerie tales with One Salt Sea in which protagonist October "Toby" Daye is forced to investigate the disappearance of some random but important merkids in order to prevent a war between air and water. Or as faerie folk like to call it, your typical Tuesday. McGuire continues to expand the world governed by Oberon's Laws, both in scope with the introduction of the realm of Saltmist and in depth with an increased focus on Daye's supporting cast of characters. In the paranormal realm, Jim Butcher owns wizards, Charlaine Harris commands vampires, and  Carrie Vaughn controls werewolves. As these books continue to improve, it's clear that Seanan McGuire has claimed the fae as her own with ironclad certainty. My only question is why is Daye still doing grunt work? She's a freaking Countess now. What good are titles if they don't come with minions? (September 6 from DAW)

YetiStomper Pick Of The Month: Some authors are everywhere. They're blogging their fingers off. They're doing interviews for anyone and everyone with a question worth asking. They're writing guest posts for John Scalzi, and whichever bloggers need to take time out of their posting schedules to feed their families. They're engaging readers through twitter, facebook, and geocities. They're mailing out review copies on their own dime. They're traveling around their region of the country doing two signings a day out of the back of their 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix. All while writing the next book and keeping the day job. These are the authors who make the genre what it is, an writhing tangle of nervous energy devoted to the goal of capturing a reader's imagination and doing all kinds of unspeakable things to it.

But there are also authors who are willing to let their work speak for itself and who don't give a frak if you understand it, much less like it. Authors who are willing to write a trillion bazillion words about the origins of calculus, the common problems of 17th century European adventurers, and how the modern banking system came to be because they found numismatic history to be interesting while doing research for their equally tome-tacular cryptogasmic opus. And then to follow that up with Anathem, as if they were doing their publisher a favor with a book that takes a tree and a half to print. It takes a special kind of author to do that. It takes Neal Stephenson to do all that and still hit #1 on the NYT Bestseller List. Reamde might be Stephenson's most accessible book yet but anyone familiar with his work knows that's not necessarily saying much. At the same time, saying the name Stephenson is enough for me - which is why Reamde is my YetiStomper Pick of the Month. Not that he would care.

YetiStomper Debut Of The Month: The Woman Who Hates Everything Gazette. Americans Against Fictional Clowns Quarterly. The One Guy Who Liked Twilight Suicide Note. That's it.

That's the full list of publications who didn't give The Night Circus a starred review. It's a hell of lot shorter that the list of people who did. I originally tried typing that out which is what is responsible for my Books of September Post going up on the 29th rather than the 1st of the month. Apparently Google has a character limit, who knew?

Anyway, Morgenstern completely and utterly delivers on the hype and then some, resulting in a novel on par with such memorable debuts as Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and The Time Traveler's Wife. It's stylistic, brilliant, moody, evocative and a hell of a lot better than any first novel has any right being. Read The Night Circus, September's YetiStomper Debut of the Month. I dare you to disagree.

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

As always, if you are interested in more detail 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.

Sep 27, 2011

In Which I Disguise Self Interest As Compassion


I want you to give Tobias Buckell money. Not because he deserves it (he does). Not because he needs it (I'm sure he wouldn't say no). Not even because he got a raw deal when his publisher decided not to continue publishing his Xenowealth books (those bastards!)

You should give Tobias Buckell money because I want to read his next Xenowealth book and I won't be able to do it unless other people contribute to his Kickstarter. This may appear to be a nice post about contributing to a worthy author, but make no mistake, it's not. It's a shameless plug for me to get what I want: a sequel to Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose. And to do that, I need you to contribute to the Kickstarter account for the 4th Xenowealth book,  The Apocalypse Ocean. And don't try to pull any of that "the rest of the loyal YetiStomper minions will pick up the slack" nonsense. I've got like 14 readers, total, and only one is ugly enough to be considered minion-esque. So when I say you, I mean you, not them, do you understand me?

There are various tiers of patronage each of which will buy you a continually more impressive book package. Tier 1 is an eBook, Tier 2 is a Hardcover + eBook, and so and so forth, up to Tier 26 after which he will name his next child whatever you want for a mere $2,426,982. He's looking to get $10,000 in seed contributions and currently sitting at around 45% of that total.

So I'm asking you, as an unapologetically self-interested fan of Buckell's work, to help make The Apocalypse Ocean a reality. You can do it because Buckell is a good author and he writes stuff worth reading. Or maybe you're the human personification of a Care Bear Stare, and want to make sure his family "gets enough food to eat", whatever that means. Or make up your own reason: whatever gets you to give Tobias Buckell money.

This is me asking you nicely. There are still 21 days left to give Tobias Buckell money. If it gets down to a week and one of your pets and/or smaller children happens to "mysteriously disappear," you can probably figure out how to get them back.

I'm joking, of course. Besides it won't even come to that. Will it....

Oh, and in case you missed the link which I so subtly dropped throughout the flowing genius word assemblage above. Here it is again. There's even a cool video and junk. And if Kickstarter works the way it's suppossed to, you should see a status bar right down here.

Note: if you read this sentence before you see a Kickstarter widget - damnit.

Sep 2, 2011

Covering Covers: Angelmaker - Nick Harkaway

io9 has the scoop on Nick Harkaway's next novel, which according to the stellar black and yellow piece of design work above, is titled Angelmaker. Harkaway is best known for his debut novel, The Gone-Away World, which featured frequently on various "Best of" Lists back in 2010.

io9 supplemented their cover reveal with a pair of book blurbs, one long and one short.

The Teaser Trailer:
 is expected from Knopf sometime in early 2012, most likely March 20th.
From the author of the international best seller The Gone-Away World—a new riveting action spy thriller, blistering gangster noir, and howling absurdist comedy: a propulsively entertaining tale about a mobster's son and a retired secret agent who team up to save the world.

Joe Spork repairs clocks, a far cry from his late father, a flashy London gangster. But when Joe fixes one particularly unusual device, his life is suddenly upended. Joe's client, Edie Banister, is more than just a kindly old lady—she's a former superspy. And the device? It's a 1950s doomsday machine. And having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator, Edie's old arch-nemesis. With Joe's once-quiet world now populated with mad monks, psychopathic serial killers, scientific geniuses, girls in pink leather, and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe, he realizes that the only way to survive is to muster the courage to fight, help Edie complete a mission she gave up years ago, and pick up his father's old gun...
And the full 90 second spot:
All Joe Spork wants to do is live quietly. He repairs clockwork and lives above his shop in a wet, unknown bit of London. The bills don't always get paid and he's single and in his mid thirties and he has no prospects of improving his lot, but at least he's not trying to compete with the reputation of Mathew "Tommy Gun" Spork, his infamous criminal dad.

Edie Banister lives quietly and wishes she didn't. She's nearly ninety and remembers when she wasn't. She used to be a spy, and now she's… well… old. Worse yet, the things she fought to save don't seem to exist anymore, and she's beginning to wonder if they ever did.

When Joe repairs one particularly unusual clockwork mechanism, his quiet life is blown apart. Suddenly he's getting visits from sinister cultists and even more sinister lawyers. One of his friends is murdered and it looks as if he may be in the frame. Oh, and in case that wasn't enough, he seems to have switched on a 1950s doomsday machine - or is it something even more alarming?

Edie's story and Joe's have collided. From here on in, nothing will be the same - Joe's world is now full of mad monks, psychopaths, villainous potentates, scientific geniuses, giant submarines, girls in pink leather engine driver's couture, and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe - and if Joe's going to fix it or even survive, he must show that he can be everything Mathew was, and much, much more.
Looks like another winner from Harkaway. What do you think?

John Scalzi's Next Novel Gets A Title

From Whatever -

Redshirts: A Novel With 3 Codas. I know what you're thinking. However, Scalzi has already confirmed that it's not a Star Trek novel. Based on the title, I suspect it's intended to be quasi-humorous, if not to the same extent as Scalzi's excellent The Android's Dream.

Unfortunately, the title is all we've got to work with at the moment. Scalzi has read from the book at several conventions but Scalzi swore everyone to secrecy and surprisingly, no details have leaked out. Which is an incredible feat in and of itself.
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