New Books (September-October)

PandaUnderHeavyFire

Featuring: Gillian Anderson, Johanna Basford, Jim Butcher, Susan Dennard, David Ellis, Allen Eskens, Richard Ford, Emily Foster, Nick Frost, Neil Gaiman, Louise Hall, Amie Kaufman, Emma Kavanagh, Jay Kristoff, Ann Leckie, Alison Littlewood, Will McIntosh, David Mitchell, Sam Munson, Paul Murray, Linda Nagata, James Patterson, Jeff Rovin, Salman Rushdie, John Seabrook, David Tallerman, Adrian J. Walker, Scott Westerfeld, David Wong

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[Yes, those GIFs have nothing to do with books. So?]

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AndersonRovin-ES2-ADreamOfIceUSGillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin, A DREAM OF ICE (Simon & Schuster)

After uncovering a mystical link to the ancient civilization of Galderkhaan, child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara is left with strange new powers. Suddenly she can heal her young patients with her mind and see things from other places and other times. But as she learns more about her powers, she also realizes that someone is watching her, perhaps hunting her — and using her son to do it.

Meanwhile Mikel Jasso, a field agent for a mysterious research organization, is searching for Galderkhaani ruins in Antarctica. After falling down a crevasse, he discovers the entire city has been preserved under ice and that the mysterious stone artifacts he’s been collecting are not as primitive as he thought. As Mikel and Caitlin work to uncover the mysteries of the Galderkhaani, they realize that the person hunting Caitlin and the stones may be connected in ways they never knew possible.

Still need to read the first book in the series — A Vision of Fire — but I am really interested in doing so. Hopefully very soon. Published in North America by Simon & Schuster on December 8th, 2015.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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BasfordJ-SecretGardenArtistsEdJohanna Basford, THE SECRET GARDEN (Laurence King)

From the publisher that brought you the hugely successful Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest — this special artist’s edition features 20 beautiful, pull-out art prints for colouring in. Colouring fans of all ages will enjoy immersing themselves in a selection of the most popular artworks from the original book, now presented in a new, large-scale format for maximum colouring enjoyment.

Each detailed illustration is printed on high-quality card and can be removed easily for framing or craft projects.

It was offered, I was intrigued. Not a clue how I’m going to review it. Also need to get hold of some colouring pencils (that would probably be a first step)…

Review copy received from publisher

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ButcherJ-CS1-AeronautsWindlassUSJim Butcher, THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS (Roc/Orbit)

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion — to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…

It has been a very long time since last I read a novel by Butcher. Apparently, I stopped reading the Dresden Files novels just before they got really good — I have never, however, got around to catching up. This is the first in a new series, and one that has received a lot of praise in the lead up to publication. Especially with regards to the talking cat(s). I’m cautiously optimistic. Published in North America by Roc Books, and in the UK by Orbit Books.

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DennardS-TruthwitchUKSusan Dennard, TRUTHWITCH (Tor UK)

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. 

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden — lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself. 

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

This is due out in January 2016, and so it’s perhaps not surprising that its cover art hasn’t yet been unveiled. There’s also no publisher page, though, which was a bit of a surprise… It sounds interesting, though, so I may read it pretty soon. It’s due to be published in the US by Tor Books, also in January 2016.

Review copy received from publisher

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EskensA-2-GuiseOfAnotherAllen Eskens, THE GUISE OF ANOTHER (Seventh Street Books)

Who was James Putnam? The answer to that question may help Minnesota detective Alexander Rupert salvage the wreck of his career.

A former Medal of Valor winner, Rupert is now under subpoena by a grand jury on suspicion of corruption. So when he’s asked to look into the false identity of a car-accident victim named James Putnam, a man who in fact died fifteen years earlier, Rupert sees a potentially big case and an opportunity to regain his respectability.

But the investigation puts him in the path of “the Beast,” the nom de guerre of Drago Basta, a cunning veteran of the Balkan wars and a sociopath assassin who has been searching for Putnam for years. Putnam had something that Basta still wants.

If Rupert’s life was in shambles before, it’s now also in danger. Threatened by the Beast and suspecting his wife of cheating, Rupert falls for the seductions of the dead man’s former girlfriend. As he feels his life spinning out of control, his steadfast brother and fellow police detective Max may be Rupert’s last hope.

Another crime series based in Minnesota — I may like this (I have a strange fondness for novels set in that state, thanks to John Sandford’s Prey and Virgil Flowers series). This is the second in the series, following The Life We Bury.

Review copy received from publisher

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FordR-S3-LordOfAshesUKRichard Ford, LORD OF ASHES (Headline)

FIGHT TO THE DEATH…

The queen of Steelhaven has grown in strength. Taking up her dead father’s sword, she must defend the city from the dread warlord Amon Tugha and his blood-thirsty army now at the gates. A vicious, unrelenting four-day battle ensues, the most perilous yet.

…OR BOW TO THE ENEMY

No side is immune from danger as all hell breaks loose, with the threat of coups and the unleashing of the deadliest and darkest magick. Loyalty, strength and cunning will be put to test in the quest for victory. What fate awaits the free states?

The final Steelhaven novel, now in paperback.

Review copy received from publisher

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FosterE-DrowningEyesEmily Foster, THE DROWNING EYES (Tor.com)

When the Dragon Ships began to tear through the trade lanes and ravage coastal towns, the hopes of the arichipelago turned to the Windspeakers on Tash. The solemn weather-shapers with their eyes of stone can steal the breeze from raiders’ sails and save the islands from their wrath. But the Windspeakers’ magic has been stolen, and only their young apprentice Shina can bring their power back and save her people.

Tazir has seen more than her share of storms and pirates in her many years as captain, and she’s not much interested in getting involved in the affairs of Windspeakers and Dragon Ships. Shina’s caught her eye, but that might not be enough to convince the grizzled sailor to risk her ship, her crew, and her neck.

This sounds really interesting. I’ll probably read it very soon, but I’m not sure about when I’ll post the review — it’s not due out until January 2016… Screw it, I’ll probably read and review it very soon. Great cover, too.

Review copy received from publisher

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FrostN-TruthsHalfTruths&LittleWhiteLiesNick Frost, TRUTHS, HALF TRUTHS AND LITTLE WHITE LIES (Hodder)

“No life can really be all black, right? Even during the darkest times, what got me through that bleakness was laughter and time. With enough of both of these things I reckon you could get over just about anything.”

Nick Frost burst onto our screens in a blaze of camo fatigues and weaponry as the Territorial Army obsessed loveable idiot Mike Watt in the hit cult comedy Spaced. Since then, fans around the world have watched him with a fervent devotion as he fought zombies, rescued aliens and salsa’d his way to box office smash after smash.

It’s quite a story. But it’s not this story. This story isn’t the romp from movie set to Hollywood party. This is a story of a life like no other.

With blistering candour Frost recounts his childhood growing up in Essex in a household full of love and optimism but tragically blighted by alcoholism, illness and sudden life shattering misfortune. 

Dogged by his own personal demons, Nick tells of the hilarious, jaw dropping and at times heartbreaking experiences that have punctuated his tumultuous life.

I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time. Audible UK were kind enough to organize a review copy for me, and I finished listening to it very quickly (I’ll hopefully post a review some time next week). Published in hardcover by Hodder, it’s out now.

Review copy received from Audible UK

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SandmanOverture-01Neil Gaiman, SANDMAN: OVERTURE (Vertigo)

Twenty-five years after THE SANDMAN first changed the landscape of modern comics, Neil Gaiman’s legendary series is back in a deluxe hardcover edition! From the birth of a galaxy to the moment that Morpheus is captured, THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE features cameo appearances by fan-favorite characters such as the Corinthian, Merv Pumpkinhead and, of course, the Dream King’s siblings: Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction and Destiny.

Collects THE SANDMAN: OVERTURE #1-6 in its entirety, plus bonus material.

I recently picked up the majority of the original Sandman series (everything after volume three, because I already had those first ones); so it was very nice to receive a review copy of this. I was able to get two variants of issue one signed by Mr. Gaiman, too, at WFC in Brighton. I think I’ll be binge-reading both series. Published by Vertigo Comics on November 10th, 2015.

Review copy received via Edelweiss

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HallL-SpeakUKLouise Hall, SPEAK (Orbit)

She cannot run. She cannot walk. She cannot even blink. As her batteries run down for the final time, all she can do is speak. Will you listen?

From Alan Turing’s conviction in the 1950s to a Silicon Valley Wunderkind imprisoned in 2040 for creating illegally lifelike dolls, from a pilgrim girl writing her diary to a traumatised young girl exchanging messages with a software program: all these lives have shaped and changed a single artificial intelligence – MARY3. In Speak, she tells you their story, and her own. It is the last story she will ever tell, spoken both in celebration and in warning.

When machines learn to speak, who decides what it means to be human?

I’ve already read this, as I was able to pick it up in Canada a while back. Here’s my review. Published in the UK by Orbit, and in North America by Ecco.

Review copy received from publisher

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KristoffKaufman-I1-IlluminaeAmie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff, ILLUMINAE (Borzoi/Knopf)

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other — are forced to evacuate with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, schematics, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

This looks like an interesting book. I’ll try to read it ASAP. Published by Knopf for Younger Readers next week.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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KavanaghE-HiddenUKEmma Kavanagh, HIDDEN (Arrow)

HE’S WATCHING

A gunman is stalking the wards of a local hospital. He’s unidentified and dangerous, and has to be located. Urgently. 

Police Firearms Officer Aden McCarthy is tasked with tracking him down. Still troubled by the shooting of a schoolboy, Aden is determined to make amends by finding the gunman — before it’s too late.

SHE’S WAITING

To psychologist Imogen, hospital should be a place of healing and safety — both for her, and her young niece who’s been recently admitted. She’s heard about the gunman, but he has little to do with her. Or has he?

As time ticks down, no one knows who the gunman’s next target will be. But he’s there. Hiding in plain sight. Far closer than anyone thinks…

A stand-alone thriller (as far as I can tell). Looks interesting. Published in the UK by Arrow on November 5th, 2015.

Review copy received from publisher

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LeckieA-3-AncillaryMercyAnn Leckie, ANCILLARY MERCY (Orbit)

For a moment, things seemed to be under control for Breq, the soldier who used to be a warship. Then a search of Athoek Station’s slums turns up someone who shouldn’t exist, and a messenger from the mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq’s enemy, the divided and quite possibly insane Anaander Mianaai — ruler of an empire at war with itself.

Breq refuses to flee with her ship and crew, because that would leave the people of Athoek in terrible danger. The odds aren’t good, but that’s never stopped her before.

The final volume in Beckie’s multi-award winning sci-fi trilogy. I really need to get around to reading the first two (it was recommended to me again, actually, just a couple of days ago). Maybe I’ll binge-read them in one go. Published by Orbit Books in the US and UK.

Review copy received from publisher

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LittlewoodA-ZA-AcapulcalypseNowAlison Littlewood, ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: ACAPULCALYPSE NOW (Robinson)

The Hotel Baktun is an exclusive vacation complex that is about to open on the coast of Acapulco, Mexico. Owned by a mysterious multi-millionaire businessman, it is shaped like an ancient Mayan pyramid and its halls are lined with rare and expensive artefacts.

For Stacy Keenan, the hotel’s new Head of Security, things are already chaotic as the locals continue to put the finishing touches to the festivities while VIPs begin to arrive for the grand opening. When a Russian cruise ship turns along the shore and disgorges its cargo of flesh-eating zombies, the guests and staff soon fragment into various factions as they struggle to withstand the spread of HRV (Human Reanimation Virus).

As the armies of the dead conquer all that stand before them, and the human survivors prepare for a final battle against an unstoppable enemy, a horror even more ancient and terrible is revealed when ‘The Death’ comes to Paradise…

This sounds bonkers… Could be fun. Published by Robinson. I shared an excerpt from the novel yesterday.

Review copy received from publisher

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McIntoshW-BurningMidnightUSsmWill McIntosh, BURNING MIDNIGHT (Delacorte Press)

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much — Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers — but it helps him and his mom make the rent.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement — and the more expensive the sphere.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold — a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them. 

There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.

McIntosh is an author I really need to read — I’ve seen so many gushing reviews of his previous novels Love Minus Eighty and Defenders. This one sounds quite different to those two books, but no less intriguing. Burning Midnight is due to be published in February 2016 by Delacorte Press. I think I’ll still try to read it relatively soon.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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MitchellD-SladeHouseUKDavid Mitchell, SLADE HOUSE (Hodder)

Born out of the short story David Mitchell published on Twitter in 2014 and inhabiting the same universe as his latest bestselling novel The Bone Clocks, this is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night. 

Turn down Slade Alley — narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you’re looking for it. Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn’t quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies.

A stranger greets you by name and invites you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t.

This unnerving, taut and intricately woven tale by one of our most original and bewitching writers begins in 1979 and reaches its turbulent conclusion around Hallowe’en, 2015. Because every nine years, on the last Saturday of October, a ‘guest’ is summoned to Slade House. But why has that person been chosen, by whom and for what purpose? The answers lie waiting in the long attic, at the top of the stairs…

This is a gorgeous book. A must-read of the year. And yet another reminder that I still haven’t read anything by Mitchell.

Review copy received from publisher

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MunsonS-NovemberCriminalsUKSam Munson, NOVEMBER CRIMINALS (Atom)

‘What are your best and worst qualities?’

This is the title of the essay Addison Schacht has to write to gain a place at his chosen university. Straightaway, Addison sees an opportunity to tell his story-so-far: to unburden himself, so to speak.

And boy is there a lot to unburden. 

His ‘business’ — dealing pot to his peers — is booming, and requires a certain extra effort. His relationship with Digger, his best friend (NOT girlfriend), is getting ‘complicated’, as they say. His classmate Kevin was murdered point blank, and now Addison can’t stop thinking about who killed him, and why? And then there’s the small question of the rest of his life… 

Over the course of his unorthodox application, Addison confess his triumphs, tragedies, strengths, weaknesses, blessings and curses to his academic jury.

I’ve seen Munson’s latest novel (The War Against the Assholes, Saga Press) on tables and shelves in a couple of Toronto bookstores, and when I spotted this on NetGalley, I thought it sounded like it might be interesting. Published in the UK by Atom on November 5th, 2015; it was published two days ago in North America, by Saga Press.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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MurrayP-MarkAndTheVoidUKPaul Murray, THE MARK AND THE VOID (Penguin)

What links the Investment Bank of Torabundo, http://www.myhotswaitress.com (yes, hots with an s, don’t ask), an art heist, a novel called For the Love of a Clown, a four-year-old boy named after TV detective Remington Steele, a lonely French banker, a tiny Pacific island, and a pest control business run by an ex-KGB man? You guessed it…

The Mark and the Void is Paul Murray’s madcap new novel of institutional folly, following the success of his wildly original breakout hit, Skippy Dies. While marooned at his banking job in the bewilderingly damp and insular realm known as Ireland, Claude Martingale is approached by a down-on-his-luck author, Paul, looking for his next great subject. Claude finds that his life gets steadily more exciting under Paul’s fictionalizing influence; he even falls in love with a beautiful waitress. But Paul’s plan is not what it seems-and neither is Claude’s employer, the Bank of Torabundo, which inflates through dodgy takeovers and derivatives-trading until-well, you can probably guess how that shakes out.

I kept hearing about this, and Paul Murray’s other novels, so I decided to pick this up and see what all the fuss is about. (I also picked up Skippy Dies). Published in the UK by Penguin.

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NagataL-R2-TheTrialsUSLinda Nagata, THE TRIALS (Saga Press)

In the wake of nuclear terrorism, a squad of elite soldiers must combat artificial intelligence and seek justice in this military political thriller, a sequel to The Red.

Lieutenant James Shelley and his squad of US Army soldiers were on a quest for justice when they carried out the unauthorized mission known as First Light. They returned home to America to face a court-martial, determined to expose the corruption in the chain of command that compelled their actions. But in a country still reeling from the nuclear terrorism of Coma Day, the courtroom is just one battlefield of many.

A new cycle of violence ignites when rumors of the elusive, rogue AI known as the Red go public — and Shelley is, once again, pulled into the fray. Challenged by his enemies, driven by ideals, Shelley feels compelled to act. But are the harrowing choices he makes really his own, or are they made for him, by the Red? And with millions of lives at stake in a game of nuclear cat-and-mouse, does the answer even matter?

I’ve heard nothing but excellent things about this series, and I intend to read it ASAP. Published by Saga Press, and the third volume — Going Dark — is published on November 3rd, 2015. I think I’ll probably pick up the third and then do a binge-read of the trilogy.

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PattersonEllis-MurderHouseUSJames Patterson & David Ellis, THE MURDER HOUSE (Little, Brown)

It has an ocean-front view, a private beach — and a deadly secret that won’t stay buried.

No. 7 Ocean Drive is a gorgeous, multi-million-dollar beachfront estate in the Hamptons, where money and privilege know no bounds. But its beautiful gothic exterior hides a horrific past: it was the scene of a series of depraved killings that have never been solved. Neglected, empty, and rumored to be cursed, it’s known as the Murder House, and locals keep their distance.

Detective Jenna Murphy used to consider herself a local, but she hasn’t been back since she was a girl. Trying to escape her troubled past and rehabilitate a career on the rocks, the former New York City cop hardly expects her lush and wealthy surroundings to be a hotbed of grisly depravity. But when a Hollywood power broker and his mistress are found dead in the abandoned Murder House, the gruesome crime scene rivals anything Jenna experienced in Manhattan. And what at first seems like an open and shut case turns out to have as many shocking secrets as the Murder House itself, as Jenna quickly realizes that the mansion’s history is much darker than even the town’s most salacious gossips could have imagined. As more bodies surface, and the secret that Jenna has tried desperately to escape closes in on her, she must risk her own life to expose the truth — before the Murder House claims another victim.

It’s been a while since I enjoyed a co-authored book of James Patterson’s. I’ve always preferred his Alex Cross series, which he writes solo. Ellis, however, is a successful thriller author in his own right, and The Murder House looked interesting. Published in North America by Little, Brown, and in the UK by Century.

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RushdieS-2yrs8months28nightsUSSalman Rushdie, TWO YEARS EIGHT MONTHS AND TWENTY-EIGHT NIGHTS (Random House)

In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub – Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.

Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world.

Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights — or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.

I have only read one Rushdie novel, Haroun & the Sea of Stories, and decades ago at that. I remember enjoying it, but the salient details escape me. Maybe I’ll have to re-read that at some point in the near future. This new novel sounds interesting, so I thought I’d give it a go. Published in North America by Random House, it’s out now.

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SeabrookJ-SongMachineJohn Seabrook, THE SONG MACHINE: INSIDE THE HIT FACTORY (WW Norton)

There’s a reason hit songs offer guilty pleasure — they’re designed that way.

Over the last two decades a new type of hit song has emerged, one that is almost inescapably catchy. Pop songs have always had a “hook,” but today’s songs bristle with them: a hook every seven seconds is the rule. Painstakingly crafted to tweak the brain’s delight in melody, rhythm, and repetition, these songs are highly processed products. Like snack-food engineers, modern songwriters have discovered the musical “bliss point.” And just like junk food, the bliss point leaves you wanting more.

In The Song Machine, longtime New Yorker staff writer John Seabrook tells the story of the massive cultural upheaval that produced these new, super-strength hits. Seabrook takes us into a strange and surprising world, full of unexpected and vivid characters, as he traces the growth of this new approach to hit-making from its obscure origins in early 1990s Sweden to its dominance of today’s Billboard charts.

Journeying from New York to Los Angeles, Stockholm to Korea, Seabrook visits specialized teams composing songs in digital labs with new “track-and-hook” techniques. The stories of artists like Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Rihanna, as well as expert songsmiths like Max Martin, Stargate, Ester Dean, and Dr. Luke, The Song Machine shows what life is like in an industry that has been catastrophically disrupted — spurring innovation, competition, intense greed, and seductive new products.

Going beyond music to discuss money, business, marketing, and technology, The Song Machine explores what the new hits may be doing to our brains and listening habits, especially as services like Spotify and Apple Music use streaming data to gather music into new genres invented by algorithms based on listener behavior.

I recently read Nathaniel Rich’s “Hit Charade” article in The Atlantic, which praises The Hit Factory. So, I picked it up. I’ll be reading ASAP. It’s out now, published by W.W. Norton.

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TallermanD-PatchwerkDavid Tallerman, PATCHWERK (Tor.com)

Fleeing the city on the TransContinental airship, Dran Florrian is traveling with the Palimpsest-the ultimate proof of a lifetime of scientific theorizing.

When a rogue organization attempts to steal the device, however, Dran takes drastic action.

But his invention threatens to destroy the very fabric of this and all other possible universes, unless Dran-or someone very much like him-can shut down the machine and reverse the process.

This could be interesting. Tallerman is the author of the ?? series, which was published by Angry Robot. The first book started well, and I enjoyed his sense of humour, but I ultimately didn’t love the novel. I wonder if, in this shorter format, it might work better for me?

Review copy received from publisher

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WalkerAJ-EndOfTheWorldRunningClubUKAdrian J. Walker, THE END OF THE WORLD RUNNING CLUB (Ebury)

Edgar Hill is 35 and caught in his own headlock. Overweight slob, under-performing husband and reluctant father – for Ed, the world may as well have already ended. So when it does end in a catastrophic asteroid strike and Edgar and his family find refuge in an Edinburgh army barracks, it comes as something of a relief.

But nothing’s ever that simple. Returning from a salvage run in the city, Edgar finds his family gone, taken to the south coast for evacuation by an international task force. Suddenly he finds himself facing a gruelling journey on foot across a devastated United Kingdom. Edgar must race against time and overcome his own short-comings, not to mention 100 mile canyons and a heavily flooded west coast, to find the people he loves before he loses them forever…

I’d heard about this a little bit before it appeared on NetGalley, and it sounded like it could be pretty interesting. So I was rather happy when my request was accepted. It’s out now, published in the UK by Ebury Press.

Review copy received via NetGalley

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WesterfeldLanaganBiancotti-ZeroesUSScott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti, ZEROES (Simon Pulse)

Don’t call them heroes.

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t — like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader.” After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the recue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. At the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

I’ve still never read anything by Westerfeld, but this sounds pretty cool. Maybe I’ll read this soon. Depending on my ever-flighty mood… Out now, published by Simon Pulse in North America.

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WongD-FuturisticViolence&FancySuitsUSDavid Wong, FUTURISTIC VIOLENCE AND FANCY SUITS (St. Martin’s Press)

Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements.

An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move. 

Mysterious, smooth-talking power players who lurk behind the scenes. 

A young woman from the trailer park. 

And her very smelly cat. 

Together, they will decide the future of mankind.

Get ready for a world in which anyone can have the powers of a god or the fame of a pop star, in which human achievement soars to new heights while its depravity plunges to the blackest depths. A world in which at least one cat smells like a seafood shop’s dumpster on a hot summer day. 

This is the world in which Zoey Ashe finds herself, navigating a futuristic city in which one can find elements of the fantastic, nightmarish and ridiculous on any street corner. Her only trusted advisor is the aforementioned cat, but even in the future, cats cannot give advice. At least not any that you’d want to follow.

Will Zoey figure it all out in time? Or maybe the better question is, will you? After all, the future is coming sooner than you think.

I’ve never read anything by David Wong, but he seems to be pretty popular and well-reviewed. This latest novel sounds pretty interesting, and caught my eye a while ago. Published in the US by St. Martin’s Press, and in the UK by Titan Books.

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One thought on “New Books (September-October)

  1. Lots of good choices here. The Rushdie book Looks like one I should get to soon. I’ll also be binge reading the Leckie novels…after I’m done binge reading Karpyshn’s Chaos Born trilogy.

    The first two books of Nagata’s The Red series were great. I’ll pounce on Book 3.

    Liked by 1 person

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