Carnelians by Catherine Asaro. Baen, $7.99, 535pp, pb, 9781451638493. Science fiction.
If you would have peace, prepare for rock
The leaders of the Eubian Empire and Skolian Imperialate survived political intrigue, military coups and murder attempts as they forged their controversial peace treaty. Now comes the hard part — making that treaty work.
Assassins are poised on both sides to eliminate the leaders for the “crime” of striving to end half a millennium of hatred between their empires. The main players in the peace process must navigate the Byzantine convolutions surrounding the negotiations. And the Skolian Imperator’s brother — who happens to be a rock star of galactic proportions — is singing his “Carnelians Finale,” an inflammatory response to Eubian atrocities and a hit song that’s sweeping across three civilizations.
Will the summit set the stage for the peace these war-weary civilizations have never before known — or will it become a trap that annihilates all they’ve worked so hard to achieve? Deadly intrigue is afoot as the baroque old order has no intention of giving up its war-bought privilege and power without a fight to the death — and they don’t care if they take the rest of galactic civilization with them.
Hermione Granger Saves the World: Essays on the Feminist Heroine of Hogwarts edited by Christopher E. Bell. McFarland, $40.00, 231pp, tp, 9780786471379. Non-fiction.
The new essays in this book make two central claims. First, for some people, the word “feminist” has been either poorly defined or even demonized. Hermione Granger, of the Harry Potter series, serves as an outstanding example of what modern young feminism looks like: activist, powerful and full of agency, yet feminine, romantic and stylish — a new kind of feminism for a new kind of girl.
The second claim the essays make is that our young, emergent feminist Hermione Granger is a pivotal character upon whom the entire series rests — not Harry Potter himself (or, at least, not Harry Potter solely). It is Hermione who solves every difficult puzzle, performs every difficult spell, and to whom her two male companions look for guidance and advice. On several occasions throughout the series, Hermione literally saves the world through her actions. This is an outstanding model for young women (and for young men as well) who are confused about how feminism manifests and operates in 2012.
[Contributors: Christopher E. Bell with Julie Alexander; Julie Alexander; Atje Gercama; Elizabeth de la Torre; Alexandra Hidalgo; Sarah Margaret Kniesler; Tara Foster; Li Cornfeld; Helen Berents; Christine Klingbiel; William V. Thompson; and Todd S. Waters.]
Archon by Sabrina Benulis. Harper Voyager, $14.99, 390pp, tp, 9780062116901. Fantasy.
With what Publishers Weekly calls “stunning visual imagery and atmosphere,” Sabrina Benulis creates a seductive, sinister world in Archon, her evocative debut, now in trade paperback, in which the difference between angels and demons is only a matter of location.
Angela Mathers is obsessed with visions of angels, supernatural creatures who haunt her thoughts by day and seduce her dreams by night. Released from a mental institution where she was locked away for two years, she hopes her new private academy will give her the chance at a normal life. Angela is far from ordinary — she is a “blood head,” considered a freak, a monster, for her violently red hair, which indicates that she is the possible fulfillment of a terrifying prophecy of overwhelming death and destruction. Only in Luz, the Vatican’s secret enclave, are “blood heads” accepted and encouraged to discover what kind of powers or special abilities they might possess.
But within the university, a coven plots, and demons and angels alike walk the streets. Everyone is searching for the key to open Raziel’s book — a secret tome from a lost archangel. Some wish to destroy Raziel, others, like the Supernal Israfel, one of the highest of the high, to free him. For when the Archon — the human chosen to possess the spirit of a dead angel — rises as foretold, they will control the supernatural universe.
Beyond His Dark Materials: Innocence and Experience in the Fiction of Philip Pullman by Susan Redington Bobby. McFarland, $40.00, 207pp, tp, 9780786465088. Non-fiction.
Beyond the His Dark Materials series lies a vast fictional realm populated by many diverse character creations of Philip Pullman. During a more than 30-year career, Pullman has created worlds filled with quests, trials, tragedies and triumphs, and this book explores those worlds. The picture books, novellas and novels written for children, adolescents and adults are analyzed through the themes of innocence and experience. The journeys Pullman sets his characters on teach them that one must embrace change, loss and suffering to grow in wisdom and grace.
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold. Baen, $25.00, 426pp, hc, 9781451638455. Science Fiction.
Good intentions, bad intel…
Captain Ivan Vorpatril sometimes thinks that if not for his family, he might have no troubles at all. But he has the dubious fortune of the hyperactive Miles Vorkosigan as a cousin, which has too-often led to his getting dragged into one of Miles’ schemes, with risk to life and limb — and military career — that Ivan doesn’t consider entirely fair. Although much practice has made Ivan more adept at fending off his mother’s less-than-subtle reminders that he should be getting married and continuing the Vorpatril lineage.
Fortunately, his current duty is on the planet Komarr as staff officer to Admiral Desplains, far from both his cousin and his mother back on their homeworld of Barrayar. It’s an easy assignment and nobody is shooting at him. What could go wrong?
Plenty, it turns out, when Byerly Vorrutyer, an undercover agent for Imperial Security, shows up on his doorstep and asks him to make the acquaintance of a young woman, recently arrived on Komarr, who seems to be in danger. That Byerly is characteristically vague about the nature of the danger, not to mention the lady’s name, should have been Ivan’s first clue, but Ivan is no more able to turn aside from aiding a damsel in distress than he could resist trying to rescue a kitten from a tree.
It is but a short step down the road of good intentions to the tangle of Ivan’s life, in trouble with the Komarran authorities, with his superiors, and with the lethal figure hunting the mysterious but lovely Tej and her exotic blue companion Rish — a tangle to test the lengths to which Ivan will go as an inspired protector.
But though his predicament is complicated, at least Ivan doesn’t have to worry about hassle from family. Or so he believes…
The Wizard of Oz as American Myth: A Critical Study of Six Versions of the Story, 1900-2007 by Alissa Burger. McFarland, $35.00, 240pp, tp, 9780786466436. Non-fiction.
Since the publication of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, authors, filmmakers, and theatrical producers have been retelling and reinventing this uniquely American fairy tale. This volume examines six especially significant incarnations of the story: Baum’s original novel, the MGM classic The Wizard of Oz (1939), Sidney Lumet’s African American film musical The Wiz (1978), Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995), Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s Broadway hit Wicked: A New Musical (2003), and the SyFy Channel miniseries Tin Man (2007). A close consideration of these works demonstrates how versions of Baum’s tale are influenced by and help shape notions of American myth, including issues of gender, race, home, and magic, and makes clear that the Wizard of Oz narrative remains compelling and relevant today.
Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill. Harper Voyager, $24.99, 448pp, hc, 9780062190420. Fantasy/Contemporary. On-sale date: March 2013.
The screenwriter and noted film critic makes his fiction debut with this brilliantly crafted modern tale — part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs — that charts the lives of two boys, from their star-crossed childhood in a realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods.
There is another world than our own, as close and intimate as a kiss, as terrifying and haunting as nightmares, a realm where fairies and djinns, changelings and angels, all the stuff of which dreams are made is real… and where magic awaits in the shadows, just a hidden step away. Between this realm and that other lies a veil, a gossamer web that muddles the vision of mortal man and keeps him from seeing what is all around him. Sometimes, someone pierces that protective veil. But one glimpse of this world can forever transform lives. Just ask Ewan and Colby….
Once upon a time, the pair were bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, until they left that world behind them. Now, Ewan is a musician living in Austin, and has just met the girl he wants to marry. Colby is still coping with the consequences of an innocent childhood wish that haunts him all these years later. While their time in the Limestone Kingdom is little more than a distant memory, this supernatural world has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies and foul-mouthed wizards argue metaphysics, and monsters in the dark feed on fear, both will learn that fate can never be outrun.
The many fans of Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, and Kim Harrison will love this fabulous debut tale of the magic and monsters in our world… and in ourselves.
First Command by A. Bertram Chandler. (The John Grimes Saga II), Baen, $7.99, 920pp, pb, 9781451638509. Science fiction collection.
Brilliant, intrepid — and needing a vacation
Spacefaring naval man John Grimes is no longer a green junior officer, and he’s learned that sometimes going by the book won’t get the job done, and a brilliant improvisation may be called for. But he wishes that he didn’t have to be brilliant and intrepid on every voyage.
Spartan Planet — Grimes lands on the lost colony planet of Sparta, which has survived by using birth machines, resulting in a population only of men. And the women in the crew of Grimes’ ship are about to cause a lot of trouble…
The Inheritors — Grimes encounters another lost world, this one with felinelike inhabitants. And he has the responsibility of doing something about a thriving interstellar slave trade.
The Big Black Mark — On the ship Discovery, Grimes finds a situation uncomfortably like that of the Bounty mutiny centuries ago. Is history repeating itself? And is Grimes’ naval career at an end?
The Far Traveler — The starship Far Traveler was built of gold to be a rich woman’s plaything. Though he’s now the captain, the very feminine, very bossy ship’s computer thinks it’s the real boss.
Whether he’s a naval officer, or commanding a private starship, John Grimes is inevitably destined for greatness — whether he wants it or not…
Himmler’s War by Robert Conroy. Baen, $7.99, 518pp, pb, 9781451638486. Science fiction.
The war changes
Only days after the Normandy invasion, Hitler is killed in a bombing raid, and Heinrich Himmler, brutal head of the SS, assumes control of the Reich. On the Allied side, there is confusion. Should attempts be made to negotiate with the new government or should unconditional surrender still be the only option?
With the specter of a German super-weapon moving closer to completion and the German generals finally allowed to fight the kind of war at which they are masters, the Allies are pushed toward a course of accommodation or even defeat. As casualties mount, will the soldiers of the U.S., Great Britain, and the Soviet Union find the courage and conviction to fight on in the face of such daunting odds? And can alliance leaders put into place a new plan in time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by the revitalized German war machine?
A new and terrible battle for a free world is on.
The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper. (Book One of Ruby’s Song), Pyr, $17.95, 351pp, tp, 9781616146849. Science fiction.
Nothing can match the power of a single voice….
Ruby Martin expects to spend her days repairing robots while avoiding the dangerous peacekeeping forces that roam the corridors of the generation ship the Creative Fire. The social structure of the ship is rigidly divided, with Ruby and her friends on the bottom. Then a ship-wide accident gives Ruby a chance to fight for the freedom she craves. Her enemies are numerous, well armed, and knowledgeable. Her weapons are a fabulous voice, a quick mind, and a deep stubbornness.
Complicating it all — an unreliable AI and an enigmatic man she met — and kissed — exactly once — who may hold the key to her success. If Ruby can’t transform from a rebellious teen to the leader of a revolution, she and all her friends will lose all say in their future.
Like the historical Evita Peron, Ruby rises from the dregs of society to hold incredible popularity and power. Her story is about love and lust and need and a thirst for knowledge and influence so deep that it burns.
The Lazarus Machine by Paul Crilley. (a Tweed & Nightingale adventure), Pyr, $16.95, 263pp, hc, 9781616146887. YA steampunk.
An alternate 1895…
A world where Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace perfected the Difference Engine. Where steam and Tesla-powered computers are everywhere. Where automatons powered by human souls venture out into the sprawling London streets. Where the Ministry, a secretive government agency, seeks to control everything in the name of the Queen.
It is in this claustrophobic, paranoid city that seventeen-year-old Sebastian Tweed and his conman father struggle to eke out a living.
But all is not well…
A murderous, masked gang has moved into London, spreading terror through the criminal ranks as they take over the underworld. As the gang carves up more and more of the city, a single name comes to be uttered in fearful whispers.
When Tweed’s father is kidnapped by Moriarty, he is forced to team up with information broker Octavia Nightingale to track him down. But he soon realizes that his father’s disappearance is just a tiny piece of a political conspiracy that could destroy the British Empire and plunge the world into a horrific war.
We Wish You a Cosmic Christmas edited by Hank Davis. Baen, $12.00, 312pp, tp, 9781451638622. Science fiction anthology.
Joy to the world…
…or, joy to the worlds! Let heaven and nature — and also the supernatural — sing. A Cosmic Christmas presents twelve stories of Christmas in very unusual circumstances, ranging from vampires to robots, from the hills of Appalachia to a high orbit space station, all celebrating the holiday in their own, off-beat ways.
New York Times best-selling author Larry Correia sends his popular tough guy detective and magic wielder, Jake Sullivan, on a special case at Christmas time, while visions of tommy guns dance in the heads of the thugs he’s up against.
Nebula Award-winner Catherine Asaro tells of a romantic Christmas weekend that turns into a deadly mystery in a futuristic high-tech house.
Mark L. Van Name’s Lobo, an A.I. housed in a killing machine, encounters a trouble family at Christmas on a faraway world, with amazing results.
Multiple award winner Connie Willis chronicles a strange and surreptitious alien invasion which has begun just in time for the holidays.
George O. Smith, a star of the Golden Age of science fiction, invites us to a Christmas celebration on a gigantic space station — interrupted by the arrival of a ruthless criminal, who didn’t drop by to hand out presents.
And more great stories, in a holiday package that any fan of science fiction and fantasy on any planet would be delighted to find under their tree.
[Contributors: Catherine Asaro, Mark L. Van Name, Manly Wade Wellman, Sarah A. Hoyt, George O. smith, Larry Correia, S.N. Dyer, Poul Anderson, Mercedes Lackey, Seabury Quinn, and Connie Willis.]
Andromeda’s Fall by William C. Dietz. (a novel of The Legion of the Damned), Ace, $25.95, 340pp, hc, 9780425256251. Science fiction.
The roots of the Legion of the Damned lie deep within the mythology of the future. But now national bestselling author William C. Dietz goes back to the Legion’s early days with the story of one recruit’s rebirth and redemption…
Hundreds of years in the future, much has changed. Advances in medicine, technology, and science abound. Humanity has gone to the stars, found alien life, and established an empire.
But some things never change…
All her life, Lady Catherine Carletto — Cat to those close to her — has lived for nothing but the next party, the next lover, the next expensive toy. Until, in a bloodthirsty power grab, Imperial Princess Ophelia and her cadre of synth assassins murder her brother, the emperor, and go on to purge the galaxy of his friends and allies — including Cat’s family. The Carlettos are known to be staunch supporters of the emperor, and Carletto Industries has been in the forefront of his pet project: developing cybernetic technology for use by the masses.
Now Cat, one of the last surviving Carlettos, is on the run. And, like countless others before her, she finds sanctuary among the most dangerous of society’s misfits.
Welcome to the Legion.
Cat Carletto vanishes, and in her place stands Legion recruit Andromeda McKee, a woman with a mission: bring down Empress Ophelia — or die trying.
The Devil’s Diadem by Sara Douglass. Harper Voyager, $14.99, 522pp, tp, 9780062200099. Fantasy.
Sara Douglass, the author of the Wayfarer Redemption Trilogy, delivers a wonderfully rich and imaginative stand-alone novel, set in a twelfth-century England similar to our own, in which a virulent plague threatens to annihilate a kingdom — and one unwitting young noblewoman holds the key to salvation. The Devil’s Diadem is a beautifully written, intricately woven saga of love, loss, family, and faith.
It is mid-twelfth century Europe. King Edmond sits the throne of England. A young noblewoman, Maeb Langtofte, joins an aristocratic household to attend Adelie, the wife of the Earl of Pengraic, who is one of the powerful Lords of the March — the dark Welsh borderlands. Maeb settles well into the household, and all seems well. Then word arrives of a plague that has swept Europe and now threatens England. No one survives infection it is said, and victims die by literally bursting into flames — as if the flames of Hell had suddenly leapt up from their sulphurous pits to claim them.
The plague invades England, and civil disorder spreads. The Earl of Pengraic leaves his family, together with Maeb, in his home castle in the borderlands where he thinks they will be safe while he rides to the king’s aid.
But Pengraic castle is not safe. And Maeb is soon to discover that she is in terrible danger — not only from the plague, but from the Earl of Pengraic, who seems to be keeping secrets of his own; the English court, who suspects her of witchery; and perhaps even the blood that runs in her veins. For it turns out that the plague has been sent by the Devil himself, who is seeking something that Maeb herself may unknowingly possess…
Tolkien and the Study of His Sources: Critical Essays edited by Jason Fisher. McFarland, $40.00, 240pp, tp, 9780786464821. Non-fiction.
Source criticism — analysis of a writer’s source material — has emerged as one of the most popular approaches in exploring the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Since Tolkien drew from many disparate sources, an understanding of these sources, as well as how and why he incorporated them, can enhance readers’ appreciation. This set of new essays by leading Tolkien scholars describes the theory and methodology for proper source criticism and provides practical demonstrations of the approach.
[Contributors: Jason Fisher; Tom Shippey; E.L. Risden; Nicholas Birns; Kristine Larsen; Miryam Libran-Moreno; Thomas Honegger; Judy Ann Ford; John D. Rateliff; Mark T. Hooker; and Diana Pavlac Glyer & Josh B. Long.]
The Sum of Her Parts by Alan Dean Foster. Del Rey, $15.00, 275pp, tp, 9780345512024. Science fiction.
New York Times bestselling author Alan Dean Foster has always been on the cutting-edge of science fiction. In the thrilling and triumphant conclusion to the Tipping Point trilogy The Sum of Her Parts, he returns to a near future in which genetic manipulation and extreme body modification have changed profoundly what it means to be human.
Dr. Ingrid Seastrom was once a respected American physician. Whispr, whose body has been transformed to preternatural thinness, was once a streetwise thief. Now, in a world on the edge of catastrophe from centuries of environmental exploitation, they are allies — thrust together by fate to unravel an impossible mystery — even as they are stalked by a relentless killer.
Ingrid and Whispr are hunted fugitives bound together by a thread: a data-storage thread made of a material that cannot exist, yet somehow does. Their quest to learn its secrets — and, in Whispr’s case, sell them to the highest bidder — has brought them to South Africa’s treacherous Namib desert. Beyond its dangers waits a heavily guarded research facility that promises answers, if they can survive long enough to get there. But that won’t be easy, not with Napun Mole on their trail. They’ve already escaped the assassin twice, and as far as Mole is concerned, finishing them off isn’t just a job anymore… it’s personal.
The Sex is Out of This World: Essays on the Carnal Side of Science Fiction edited by Sherry Ginn and Michael G. Cornelius. (Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy, 36), McFarland, $40.00, 259pp, tp, 9780786466856. Non-fiction.
This book is a collection of new essays, with the general objective of filling a gap in the literature about sex and science fiction. Although some work has been published, none of it is recent. The essays herein explore the myriad ways in which authors writing in the genre, regardless of format (e.g., print, film, television, etc.), envision very different beings expressing this most fundamental of human behaviors.
“Science fiction” can be translated into “real unreality.” More than a genre like fantasy, which creates entirely new realms of possibility, science fiction constructs its possibilities from what is real, from what is, indeed, possible, or conceivably so. This collection, then, looks to understand and explore the “unreal reality,” to note ways in which our culture’s continually changing and evolving mores of sex and sexuality are reflected in, dissected by, and deconstructed through the genre of science fiction.
[Contributors: Michael G. Cornelius; Cynthia J. Miller & A. Bowdoin Van Riper; Anca Rosu; Echo E. Savage; Allison Whitney; Heather M. Porter; Robert C. Pirro; Erin Grayson Sapp; Thomas G. Cole II; Larry T. Shillock; Matthew H. Hersch; Clare Parody; and Sherry Ginn.]
Trapped by Kevin Hearne. (Book Five of The Iron Druid Chronicles), Del Rey, $7.99, 320pp, pb, 9780345533647. Fantasy.
After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.
Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge — but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have Kill the Druid at the top of their to-do lists.
Approaching the Hunger Games Trilogy: A Literary and Cultural Analysis by Tom Henthorne. McFarland, $40.00, 206pp, tp, 9780786468645. Non-fiction.
This book addresses Suzanne Collins’s work from a number of literary and cultural perspectives. The author takes an interdisciplinary approach to the Hunger Games trilogy, drawing from literary studies, psychology, gender studies, media studies, philosophy and cultural studies.
Analytical rather than evaluative, this work dispenses with extended theoretical discussions, academic jargon and even footnotes. Assuming that readers are familiar with the trilogy, the book also avoids plot summary, instead focusing on the significance of the story and its characters. It includes a biographical essay, glossaries, questions for further study, and an extensive bibliography.
The Complete Keeper Chronicles by Tanya Huff. DAW, $16.00, 864pp, tp, 9780756407889. Fantasy.
DAW Books is thrilled to announce the entire Keeper Chronicles from Tanya Huff together in a trade paperback omnibus! Claire Hansen is a Keeper, a member of that select group of Earth’s Guardians charged with keeping the universe in one piece, going where she is Summoned — to places where anomalies exist or rifts have opened — to seal up the world’s danger spots before the minions of Hell can break through.
Summon the Keeper: Being one of the Earth’s protectors is never easy, but when Claire the Keeper and Austin the cat find themselves in charge of the Elysian Fields Guesthouse Bed and Breakfast, all Hell breaks loose in the form of a gateway residing in the basement!
The Second Summoning: After Claire Hansen closed the portal into Hell at the Elysian Fields Guest House, Claire and her talking cat, Austin, found they’d acquired a new companion — Dean. Though Dean was a Bystander and shouldn’t have been allowed to even remember Keepers existed, somehow in the course of their mutual ordeal at the Elysian Fields, he’d become an indispensable part of Claire’s life. She knew she should change his memories and force him to leave her. Any other course was bound to lead to disaster. But as it turned out, it was already too late, for without Dean around Claire could easily become a danger to herself and the very fabric of space and time.
Yet with Dean around — and a little of her sister Diana’s meddling thrown in — the world was headed straight for Chaos.
And Claire was about to face a challenge beyond her wildest imagining — a catastrophe created by the power of love — when an angel and a devil each manifested in the mortal world as fully endowed teenagers, who didn’t have a clue how to handle their all-too-human bodies, raging hormones, and opposing needs to do good and evil….
Long Hot Summoning: In Tanya Huff’s delightful follow-up to her acclaimed bestsellers, Summon the Keeper and The Second Summoning, a force from the Otherside threatens to break through to our world and destroy the balance between Light and Darkness. Unless, of course, the Keepers Claire and Diana — two sisters who are able to reweave the possibilities of time and space — can prevent a permanent rift between worlds… at the local shopping mall.
Alien vs. Alien by Gini Koch. DAW, $7.99, 500pp, pb, 9780756407704. Science fiction.
Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini and the rest of the American Centaurion Diplomatic Corps are still recovering from their introduction to Washington D.C. politics, parties, and conspiracies. So when compromising pictures arrive, no one’s too surprised. They’re also the least of anyone’s worries.
Evil androids running amok, birds of all kinds and from all places creating havoc, a senator trapped in an ever-tightening web of intrigue, and escalating international tensions all seem tough but manageable. But the disappearance of Jeff Martini and Charles Reynolds during the International One World Festival signals more than the usual nastiness — and it looks like even ACE can’t help them.
Then new trouble arrives in old packages, and even with the best hackers in the world, beings from near and far, the full might of Earth’s military, and the Wonder Twins on their side, Centaurion Division’s outmanned and outgunned.
Now Kitty’s racing against the clock to find not only Jeff and Chuckie, but to keep the peace between Middle Eastern countries, all while searching for the bases of super-soldier operations — to stop them or die trying.
Elemental Magic: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters edited by Mercedes Lackey. DAW, $7.99, 312pp, pb, 9780756407872. Fantasy anthology.
The Elemental Magic of Edwardian Britain…
In 2001, Mercedes Lackey published The Serpent’s Shadow, the story of a pioneering woman doctor in an alternative Edwardian London where elemental magic is real, and is monitored by the members of an elite yet secret organization of Elemental Masters. This book began a series of novels set in an alternate Britain where certain gifted individuals wield the powers of the elements: earth, air, fire, and water, for good or ill. The headquarters of this secret organization is London’s White Lodge, and it is led by the aristocratic and powerful Lord David Alderscroft, a Fire Master of unrivaled abilities known to insiders as “The Wizard of London.” From his seemingly traditional men’s club in the city, Lord Alderscroft and his fellow Masters monitor the magical doings in their realm, and find, guide, protect, and train all those in the British Isles who are born with the ability to control the elements. Be they commoners, women, or those not completely human, these Masters set aside the rigid customs of their day to help those gifted with magic.
Inspired by this magically parallel turn-of-the-century Britain, other time travelers have followed Mercedes Lackey to this universe to add their gifts to this rich world. Join Tanya Huff, Diana Paxson, Fiona Patton, Elisabeth Waters, and others in the very first anthology of the Elemental Masters, including a never before published story by the real head of the White Lodge — Mercedes Lackey.
[Contributors: Mercedes Lackey, Diana L. Paxson, Samuel Conway, Fiona Patton, Rosemary Edghill, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Elisabeth Waters, Cedric Johnson, Dayle A. Dermatis, Michele Lang, Jody Lyne Nye, Gail Sanders & Michael Z. Williamson, Tanya Huff, Ron Collins, Kristin Schwengel, and Mercedes Lackey.]
The Humanism of Doctor Who: A Critical Study in Science Fiction and Philosophy by David Layton. McFarland, $40.00, 364pp, tp, 9780786466733. Non-fiction.
From 1963 to 1989, the BBC television program Doctor Who followed a time-traveling human-like alien called “The Doctor” as he sought to help people, save civilizations and right wrongs. Since its 2005 revival, Doctor Who has become a pop culture phenomenon surpassing its “classic” period popularity and reaching a larger, more diverse audience. Though created as a family program, the series has dramatized serious themes in philosophy, science, religion, and politics. Doctor Who‘s thoughtful presentation of a secular humanist view of the universe stands in stark contrast to the flashy special effects central to most science fiction on television. This examination of Doctor Who from the perspective of philosophical humanism assesses the show’s careful exploration of such topics as justice, ethics, good and evil, mythology and knowledge.
Crossed Blades by Kelly McCullough. (a Fallen Blade novel), Ace, $7.99, 288pp, pb, 9781937007843. Fantasy.
For six years, former temple assassin Aral Kingslayer has been living as a jack of the shadow trades, picking up odd jobs on the wrong side of the law. But the past is never dead, and Aral’s has finally caught up to him in the beautiful, dangerous form of Jax Seldansbane — a fellow Blade and Aral’s onetime fiance.
Jax claims that the forces that destroyed everything Aral once held dear are on the move again, and she needs his help to stop them. But Aral has a new life now, with a fresh identity and new responsibilities. And while he isn’t keen on letting the past back in, the former assassin soon finds himself involved in a war that will leave him with no way out and no idea who to trust…
Iced by Karen Marie Moning. Delacorte, $27.00, 512pp, hc, 9780385344401. Urban fantasy.
Iced, the addictive first book in Karen Marie Moning’s new urban fantasy trilogy, catapults us into the frenetic world of the Fever series, picking up immediately where Moning’s Shadowfever — an instant #1 New York Times, #1 Publishers Weekly, #2 USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller — ended. At its center is Dani O’Malley, the powerful, tough-talking teen sidhe seer who has stolen readers’ hearts.
Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules — and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is this: do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the few humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.
Dani’s ex-best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead; the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head; and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.
When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skills to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks — and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.
Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin — before everything and everyone in it gets Iced.
Sound Bender #2: The Shadow Mask by Lin Oliver & Theo Baker. Scholastic, $16.99, 368pp, hc, 9780545196949. YA Fantasy. On-sale date: January 2013.
In 2011, New York Times bestselling author Lin Oliver and her son, debut novelist Theo Baker, introduced middle-graders to Leo Lomax and sent readers on a thrilling adventure that spanned the world in Sound Bender. In Sound Bender #2: The Shadow Mask Leo returns for another globe-trotting journey full of suspense.
Leo is back in New York, and things are worse than ever. His Uncle Crane has isolated him from his friends, pulled him from his school, and is keeping him under near-constant surveillance. When a strange mask once owned by his father begins to draw Crane’s attention, however, Leo is presented with a devil’s bargain. If he helps Crane find the mask’s other half, he can return to his life and his friends. To sweeten the deal, Crane will even pay for a fact-finding mission to check out Leo’s parents’ plane crash. There’s just one catch. In order to find the mark, Leo will have to travel across the world — and take it from its rightful owners.
Respecting The Stand: A Critical Analysis of Stephen King’s Apocalyptic Novel by Jenifer Paquette. McFarland, $40.00, 191pp, tp, 9780786470013. Non-fiction.
Many academics dismiss Stephen King as a mere genre writer, an over-glorified bestseller who appeals to the masses, but lacks literary merit. This critical analysis of King’s epic novel The Stand makes a case for the horror master as a literary writer. A careful consideration of The Stand‘s abstract themes, characters, setting, and text reveals how King’s work brims with the literary techniques that critics expect of a serious writer and the haunting questions that mark enduring literature. A thoughtful deliberation on so-called “escapist” fiction in the world of literature as well as an informed examination of one of King’s most famous books, this work paves the way for future studies of other King novels.
Mecha Rogue by Brett Patton. (a novel of The Armor Wars), Roc, $7.99, 360pp, pb, 9780451464903. Science fiction.
When you don’t know which side to trust, go rogue.
Matt Lowell is the hottest new recruit in the Universal Union’s select group of pilots. Their job: control the supremely powerful biomechanical robotic avatars known as Mecha. Now he has been offered an unprecedented opportunity: return to Earth to train a new elite force for a covert mission that’s imperative to ensuring the future of the Union.
When his team and he embark on their mission on a border world that may be a target for the anarchical Corsairs, Matt finds that everything is not as it seems. The world is home to a dark secret that underlies the very foundation of the Union itself, and suddenly Matt doesn’t know which side he and his mighty Mecha should be fighting for — or against.
Of Bread, Blood and The Hunger Games: Critical Essays on the Suzanne Collins Trilogy edited by Mary F. Pharr and Leisa A. Clark. (Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy #35), McFarland, $40.00, 255pp, tp, 9780786470198. Non-fiction.
This collection of fresh essays on Suzanne Collins’s epic trilogy spans multiple disciplines. The contributors probe the trilogy’s meaning using theories grounded in historicism, feminism, humanism and queer theory, as well as cultural, political and media studies. The essayists demonstrate diverse perspectives regarding Collins’s novels but they have in common an appreciation of the trilogy as literature and a belief in its permanent value.
The 21 essays that follow the context-setting introduction are grouped into four parts: I. History, Politics, Economics and Culture, II. Ethics, Aesthetics and Identity, III. Resistance, Surveillance and Simulacra, and IV. Thematics Parallels and Literary Traditions. A core bibliography of dystopian and postapocalyptic works is included, with emphasis on the young adult category.
[Contributors: Mary F. Pharr and Leisa A. Clark; Bill Clemente; Anthony Pavlik; Gretchen Koenig; Valerie Estelle Frankel; Tina L. Hanlon; Max Despain; Guy Andre Risko; Tammy L. Grant; Katheryn Wright; Sharon D. King; Holly Hassel; Jennifer Mitchell; Amy L. Montz; Kelley Wezner; Shannon R. Mortimore-Smith; Helen Day; Catherine R. Eskin; Rodney M. DeaVault; Sarah Outterson Murphy; and Amanda Firestone.]
The Doctor Who Franchise: American Influence, Fan Culture and the Spinoffs by Lynnette Porter. McFarland, $35.00, 200pp, tp, 9780786465569. Non-fiction.
Doctor Who, nearing its 50th anniversary, has become a part of British popular culture, and the Doctor a British icon. Nevertheless, thanks to BBC America and BBC Worldwide’s marketing strategy, as well as to the Doctor’s and his companions’ recent in-person visits to the U.S., the venerable series is becoming more susceptible to an “American influence,” including the possibility of becoming “Americanized.” Doctor Who and recent spinoffs Torchwood (2006) and The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007) offer American audiences very different insights into the Whoniverse and have met with varying degrees of success.
This work examines Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, with special attention given to the ways British and American television production and fandoms are influencing each other. Although the past few years have been an exciting time in the Whoniverse, the Doctor — and the franchise — are poised for yet another regeneration.
The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest. (a novel of The Clockwork Century), Tor, $14.99, 366pp, tp, 9780765329479. Steampunk.
Winner of the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and nominated for the Hugo and Nebula awards, Cherie Priest builds upon her success with her next highly anticipated novel, The Inexplicables. This is the fourth book in the Clockwork Century series, following Priest’s steampunk adventure and runaway hit Boneshaker, and it sequels Dreadnought and Ganymede. This stand-alone novel is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats!
Rector “Wreck ‘em” Sherman was orphaned as a toddler in the Blight of 1863, but that was years ago. Wreck has grown up, and on his eighteenth birthday, he’ll be cast out of the orphanage. And Wreck’s problems aren’t merely about finding a home. He’s been quietly breaking the cardinal rule of any good drug dealer and dipping into his own supply of the sap he sells. He’s also pretty sure he’s being haunted by the ghost of a kid he used to know — Zeke Wilkes, who almost certainly died six months ago. Zeke would have every reason to pester Wreck, since Wreck got him inside the walled city of Seattle in the first place, and that was probably what killed him. Maybe it’s only a guilty conscience, but Wreck can’t take it anymore, so he sneaks over the wall.
The walled-off wasteland of Seattle is every bit as bad as he’d heard, chock-full of the hungry undead and utterly choked by the poisonous, inescapable yellow gas. And then there’s the monster. Rector’s pretty certain that whatever attacked him was not at all human — and not a rotter, either. Arms far too long. Posture all strange. Eyes all wild and faintly glowing gold and known to the locals as simply “The Inexplicables.”
In the process of tracking down these creatures, Rector comes across another incursion through the wall — just as bizarre but entirely attributable to human greed. It seems some outsiders have decided there’s gold to be found in the city and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get a piece of the pie unless Rector and his posse have anything to do with it.
Featuring hypothetical ghosts, gangland mayhem and, of course zombies galore within the walled city of Seattle, The Inexplicables is a fast-moving, adrenaline pumping story that will satisfy dedicated fans and intrigue new readers alike.
The Subversive Harry Potter: Adolescent Rebellion and Containment in the J.K. Rowling Novels by Vandana Saxena. McFarland, $40.00, 218pp, tp, 9780786466740. Non-fiction.
The seven books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series bring together a variety of aspects of young adult fiction and portray youthful rebellion as well as cultural containment and an adolescent’s negotiations through these conflicting forces. This detailed study of Harry Potter explores the limits of the formulaic structure of adolescent fantasy fiction and also examines the impulse of exploration, subversion, and resistance contained within the formula. Within both subversion and containment in the narrative, young adult fantasy becomes an embodiment of the experience of adolescence — its angst, rebellion and also its journey of personal maturation.
The Explorer by James Smythe. Harper Voyager, $14.99, 272pp, tp, 9780062229410. Fantasy. On-sale date: January 2013.
A tense, claustrophobic, and gripping science fiction thriller in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, and Moon
Ambitious journalist Cormac Easton has always yearned for adventure. Selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers.
But in space nothing goes according to plan.
Waking from hypersleep, Cormac and the crew discover the captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. Back on Earth, Ground Control tells them there is no turning back. No matter what happens, the mission must continue.
But the captain’s mysterious death is only the beginning of the paranoia. As the body count rises, Cormac finds himself alone and spiraling toward his own inevitable death… unless he can find a way to stop it.
James Smythe has created a gripping, darkly atmospheric psychological thriller full of paranoia and terror, set in the near future, within the cramped confines of a spaceship destined for disaster. Written with the piercing insight and wondrous sense of possibility embodied in the greatest science fiction, his tense, twisty, and fantastically imaginative ride examines the complexities of human relationships — and what it means to be human.
Phoeix Rising by Ryk E. Spoor. Baen, $16.00, 400pp, tp, 9781451638417. Fantasy.
Three exiles against the darkness
Kyri: a highborn young woman whose life is shattered by the murder of her kin. But even as Kyri flees her beloved land Evanwyl, she knows that she is her family’s only hope for justice, and Evanwyl’s only change to escape a growing shadow of corruption and destruction.
Now Kyri must venture across Zarathan, a world on the brink of a long foretold Chaos War. It is a struggle that may usher in a long age of darkness — that is, if Kyri and her companions do not succeed in holding back the tide of evil that is rising. Those companions include valiant swordsman Tobimar Silverun, Prince of Skysand, exiled on the turn of a card and a prophecy, who is now seeking his people’s lost homeland; and Poplock Duckweed, an unlikely hero whose diminutive size is as much a weapon as it is a weakness.
Kyri’s quest is as simple as it is profound: find a legendary ancient weaponsmith, take up the sword and armor of a new order of warrior defenders, and bring the power of justice and vengeance to the spreading evil that has darkened her native land.
Star Trek: Klingon Bird-of-Prey Haynes Manual by Rick Sternbach and Ben Robinson. Gallery, $28.00, 122pp, hc, 9781451695908. Tie-in.
The Bird-of-Prey is the classic Klingon starship — a tough raiding and scouting vessel that has served at the heart of the Klingon Defense Force for more than a hundred years. Life on board is harsh and brutal, with any sign of weakness leading to a challenge to the death. The ship itself is stripped back and lean, with everything designed for a single purpose — war. A follow-up to the wildly popular U.S.S. Enterprise Haynes Manual, Star Trek: Klingon Bird-of-Prey Haynes Manual exposes the secrets of the Klingon Empire’s Bird of Prey vessel.
This Haynes Manual traces the origins of a Bird-of-Prey from the moment it is commissioned by one of the Great Houses and constructed at the shipyards of the Klingon Naval Academy. It then proceeds to examine General Martok’s famous ship the I.K.S. Rotarran in unprecedented detail.
Featuring a stunning cutaway drawing and, for the first time ever, detailed deck plans and incredible new computer-generated artwork, the all-new Star Trek: Klingon Bird-of-Prey Haynes Manual is a technical tour of the ship’s systems, from the bridge and engineering rooms to the disruptors torpedo launcher, and the all-important cloaking device. In addition, the Manual provides a unique insight into life on board a Klingon ship and the Rotarran‘s glorious history in the Dominion War.
A New American Space Plan by Travis S. Taylor with Stephanie Osborn. Baen, $15.00, 218pp, tp, 9781451638653. Science.
Meet Dr. Travis S. Taylor, chief redneck on the hit national television show, Rocket City Rednecks. Who are the Rocket City Rednecks? They’re five backwoods guys from Huntsville, Alabama who also happen to be science PhDs, engineers, and expert machinists, one of whom worked on the Saturn V program. These are rednecks with a plan — a plan to get American back into space, and Doc Travis leads the way:
“We must go back to the Moon as soon as we can to enrich our nation with the technical, economic, and emotional boost that we so desperately need right now. We must go to Mars and beyond.
“This new space plan is to do it all in logical and calculated steps, but with enthusiasm and vigor and the drive of a moral imperative. Our moral imperative is to make and keep America strong, safe, and bountiful and to protect humanity’s future.
“The approach is to be smart about our plan and not throw away a legacy we’ve been building for decades. It is humanity’s destiny to be amongst the stars and Americans should be leading every step of the way.
“This is my plan for America in space. This is a New American Space Plan.
“I am Dr. Travis S. Taylor, Ringleader of the Rocket City Rednecks and I approve this message!”
Supervolcano: All Fall Down by Harry Turtledove. Roc, $26.95, 405pp, hc, 9780451464811. Science fiction.
In Supervolcano: Eruption, one of nature’s most destructive forces released its ferocity on an unsuspecting world. Now New York Times bestselling author Harry Turtledove reveals how the survivors of the disaster adapt to their new environment….
In the aftermath of the supervolcano’s eruption in Yellowstone Park, North America is covered in ash. Farmland cannot produce food. Machinery has been rendered useless. Cities are no longer habitable. And the climate across the globe grows colder every day.
Former police officer Colin Ferugson’s family is spread across the United States, separated by the catastrophe and struggling to survive as the nation attempts to recover and reestablish some measure of civilization….
Uglies: Cutters by Scott Westerfield & Devin Grayson, illustrations by Steven Cummings. Del Rey, $10.99, 176pp, tp, 9780345527233. Graphic novel.
“From the moment we are born, we are considered threats in need of ‘special’ management. We are watched and shaped and exploited by a force most of us never see…. All to keep us safe…. Do you feel safe?! Or do you feel like you’re in a cage?” –Shay
Experience the riveting, dystopian Uglies series seen as never before — through the eyes of Shay, Tally Youngblood’s closest and bravest friend, who refuses to take anything about society at face value in Uglies: Cutters.
In Pretties, Tally Youngblood and her daring best friend, Shay, both underwent the operation that turned them from ordinary Uglies into stunning beauties. Now this thrilling new graphic novel reveals Shay’s perspective on living in New Pretty Town… and the way she sees it, there’s more to this so-called paradise than meets the eye.
With the endless parties and custom-made clothes, life as a Pretty should be perfect. Yet Shay doesn’t feel quite right. She has little to no memory of her past; it’s as if something in her brain has inexplicably changed. When she reunites with Tally and her Crims — her rebellious group of friends from Uglyville — she begins to recall their last departure to the wild, and the headstrong leader she used to be. And as she remembers the truth about what doomed their escape, Shay decides to fight back — against the status quo, against the mysterious Special Circumstances, even against her own best friend.
The Theology of Battlestar Galactica: American Christianity in the 2004-2009 Television Series by Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr. McFarland, $40.00, 219pp, tp, 9780786465507. Non-fiction.
The reimagined television series Battlestar Galactica (2005 to 2009 on the Sci Fi Channel), features religion and theology among its central concerns — but does not simply use its myriad faiths as plot devices or background material. Battlestar Galactica is, in and of itself, a theological text.
Over the course of 87 episodes and two television movies, the series’ narrative arc explores the meanings of salvation, prophecy, exile, apocalypse, resurrection, and messianism, and clearly demonstrates the working of a divine will in a material world. The book offers a systematic theology for each of Battlestar Galatica‘s invented religions and survey echoes of American Christianity in the groundbreaking series.