Featuring: Marie Brennan, Rae Carson, Antony Dapiran, Eric Jerome Dickey, Seth Dickinson, Kate Elliott, Dan Franklin, John French, Sarah Gerard, Nicole Jarvis, N.K. Jemisin, Stephen Graham Jones, Val Kilmer, Yoon Ha Lee, David Litt, David Mack, Andrew Pyper, John Scalzi, Alexis Schaitkin, V.E. Schwab, Matt Sorum, Zoje Stage, Ryan Van Loan, Adrian J. Walker, Matt Wallace, Martha Wells, Ben Widdicombe, Anne Wiener
Marie Brennan, DRIFTWOOD (Tachyon)
Enter a post-apocalyptic realm where the apocalypse has not ended, where fragments of worlds cohere into shifting myths. Yet even as everything fades, Drifters gather to tell conflicting legends of Last, the guide — the one man who seemed immortal, but may have been a fraud.
Who is Last?
Fame is rare in Driftwood—it’s hard to get famous if you don’t stick around long enough for people to know you. But many know the guide, Last, a one-blooded survivor who has seen his world end many lifetimes ago. For Driftwood is a strange place of slow apocalypses, where continents eventually crumble into mere neighborhoods, pulled inexorably towards the center in the Crush. Cultures clash, countries fall, and everything eventually disintegrates.
Within the Shreds, a rumor goes around that Last has died. Drifters come together to commemorate him. But who really was Last? Lying liar, or heroic savior? A mercenary, a charlatan, a legend? A man, an immortal—perhaps even a god?
This is the first novel in Marie Brennan’s Driftwood series, and it sounds pretty interesting. Looking forward to giving it a try. Driftwood is due to be published by Tachyon Publications in North America and in the UK, on July 17th (eBook) and August 14th (paperback).
Rae Carson, STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (Century)
Witness the epic final chapter of the Skywalker saga with the official novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including expanded scenes and additional content not seen in theaters!
The Resistance has been reborn. The spark of rebellion is rekindling across the galaxy. But although Rey and her fellow heroes are back in the fight, the war against the First Order, now led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is far from over.
Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced. And this time, they’re facing it together. With the help of old friends, new allies, and the mysterious guidance of the Force, the story that began in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches an astounding conclusion.
The expanded novelization of the movie. It might be interesting to read all three novelizations together, now that the trilogy has been completed. Wonder if it would fill in some gaps? The Rise of Skywalker is out now, published by Century in the UK and Del Rey in North America.
Antony Dapiran, CITY ON FIRE (Scribe)
A long-term resident and expert observer of dissent in Hong Kong takes readers to the frontlines of Hong Kong’s revolution.
Through the long, hot summer of 2019, Hong Kong burned. Anti-government protests, sparked by a government proposal to introduce a controversial extradition law, grew into a pro-democracy movement that engulfed the city for months. Protesters fought street battles with police, and the unrest brought the People’s Liberation Army to the doorstep of Hong Kong. Driven primarily by youth protesters with their ‘Be water!’ philosophy, borrowed from hometown hero Bruce Lee, this leaderless, technology-driven protest movement defied a global superpower and changed Hong Kong, perhaps forever.
In City on Fire, Antony Dapiran provides the first detailed analysis of the protests, and reveals the protesters’ unique tactics. He explains how the movement fits into the city’s long history of dissent, examines the cultural aspects of the movement, and looks at what the protests will mean for the future of Hong Kong, China, and China’s place in the world.
City on Fire will be seen as the definitive account of an historic upheaval.
The recent protests and ongoing situation in Hong Kong has been fascinating to read about and see unfold (sounds a bit off, but China has long been an academic interest of mine). I’m really looking forward to reading this book. City on Fire is due to be published by Scribe in the UK and North America, on April 9th, 2020.
Eric Jerome Dickey, THE BUSINESS OF LOVERS (Dutton)
Unlike their younger brother, André, whose star as a comedian is rising, neither Dwayne nor Brick Duquesne is having luck with his career — and they’re unluckier still in love. Former child star Dwayne has just been fired from his latest acting role and barely has enough money to get by after paying child support to his spiteful former lover, while Brick struggles to return to his uninspiring white-collar job after suffering the dual blows of a health emergency and a nasty breakup with the woman he still loves.
Neither brother is looking to get entangled with a woman anytime soon, but love — and lust — has a way of twisting the best-laid plans. When Dwayne tries to reconnect with his teenage son, he finds himself fighting to separate his animosity from his attraction for his son’s mother, Frenchie. And Brick’s latest source of income — chauffeur and bodyguard to three smart, independent women temporarily working as escorts in order to get back on their feet — opens a world of possibility in both love and money. Penny, Christiana, and Mocha Latte know plenty of female johns who would pay top dollar for a few hours with a man like Brick… if he can let go of his past, embrace his unconventional new family, and allow strangers to become lovers.
Seth Dickinson, THE TYRANT BARU CORMORANT (Tor Books)
The hunt is over. After fifteen years of lies and sacrifice, Baru Cormorant has the power to destroy the Imperial Republic of Falcrest that she pretends to serve. The secret society called the Cancrioth is real, and Baru is among them.
But the Cancrioth’s weapon cannot distinguish the guilty from the innocent. If it escapes quarantine, the ancient hemorrhagic plague called the Kettling will kill hundreds of millions… not just in Falcrest, but all across the world. History will end in a black bloodstain.
Is that justice? Is this really what Tain Hu hoped for when she sacrificed herself?
Baru’s enemies close in from all sides. Baru’s own mind teeters on the edge of madness or shattering revelation. Now she must choose between genocidal revenge and a far more difficult path — a conspiracy of judges, kings, spies and immortals, puppeteering the world’s riches and two great wars in a gambit for the ultimate prize.
If Baru had absolute power over the Imperial Republic, she could force Falcrest to abandon its colonies and make right its crimes.
Kate Elliott, UNCONQUERABLE SUN (Tor Books)
Princess Sun has finally come of age.
Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected — and feared.
But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme — and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead.
To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.
Take the brilliance and cunning courage of Princess Leia — add in a dazzling futuristic setting where pop culture and propaganda are one and the same — and hold on tight:
This is the space opera you’ve been waiting for.
A new space opera from Kate Elliott. I hadn’t seen much mention of this until very recently, and when I saw it available on NetGalley, I knew I had to give it a try. Unconquerable Sun is due to be published by Tor Books in North America on July 7th, 2020. (Not sure about UK release, yet.)
Dan Franklin, HEAVY (Little, Brown)
What exactly is heavy metal music? How deep do its roots go?
Long established as an undeniable force in culture, metal traces its roots back to leather-clad iron men like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, who imbued their music with a mysterious and raw undercurrent of power.
Heavy unearths this elusive force, delving deep into the fertile culture that allowed a distinctive new sound to flourish and flaying the source material to get to the beating heart of the music. From the imminent threat of nuclear apocalypse that gave rise to Metallica’s brand of volatile thrash metal to Bloodbath and Carcass, the death metal bands resurrecting the horror of medieval art.
But there are always more lines to be drawn. Cradle of Filth and Ulver trade in the transgressive impulses of gothic literature; Pantera lay bare Nietzsche’s ‘superman’; getting high leads to the escapist sci-fi dirges of Sleep and Electric Wizard; while the recovery of long-buried urns in the seventeenth century holds the key to the drone of Sunn O))).
Dissecting music that resonates with millions, Heavy sees Slipknot wrestling with the trauma of 9/11, Alice in Chains exposing the wounds of Vietnam and Iron Maiden conjuring visions of a heroic England. Powerful, evocative and sometimes sinister, it gives shape and meaning to the terrible beauty of metal.
Spotted this mentioned on Twitter a while back, and was able to source a review copy. Started reading it pretty much as soon as I got it, and I’m happy to report that I very much enjoyed it. Heavy is due to be published by Little, Brown in the UK on March 19th, 2020.
John French, HORUSIAN WARS: DIVINATION (Black Library)
Inquisitor Covenant stands against the plans of the sinister ‘Triumvirate’… but he does not stand alone. In the anthology are tales of the allies – rogues, agents, psykers and killers – who aid him in his battle against the darkness.
Myriad are the cohorts of the Inquisitor Covenant. As he struggles to unpick the plans of the mysterious and deadly ‘Triumvirate’, he must use every weapon in his arsenal and every resource at his disposal. These are the men and women who follow his iron example, his closest agents, psykers and killers. Every tool is necessary in the war against Chaos and herein are eleven tales of such gifted, devout and sometimes terrifying individuals. Heed their stories, their origins, their bleakest moments and their greatest triumphs. What destiny has in store in the end none can say for sure, all we can do is turn the card and see what fate decrees…
This is a collection of short stories linked to French’s Horusian Wars series of novels. Strangely, I haven’t managed to get around to reading the novels, but I have read a few of these already. It’ll be nice to read them all together, in context. Divination is due to be published by Black Library in North America and in the UK, on April 28th, 2020.
Sarah Gerard, TRUE LOVE (Harper)
A dark comedy about a woman’s search for acceptance, identity, and financial security in the rise of Trump.
Nina is a struggling writer, a college drop-out, a liar, and a cheater. More than anything she wants love. She deserves it.
From the burned-out suburbs of Florida to the anonymous squalor of New York City, she eats through an incestuous cast of characters in search of it: her mother, a narcissistic lesbian living in a nudist polycule; Odessa, a single mom with even worse taste in men than Nina; Seth, an artist whose latest show is comprised of three Tupperware containers full of trash; Brian, whose roller-coaster affair with Nina is the most stable “relationship” in his life; and Aaron, an aspiring filmmaker living at home with his parents, with whom Nina begins to write her magnum opus.
Nina’s quest for fulfillment is at once darkly comedic, acerbically acute, and painfully human — a scathing critique of contemporary society, and a tender examination of our anguished yearning for connection in an era defined by detachment.
Spotted this a while ago in the publisher’s catalogue and thought it looked quite interesting. When it was available for request, I jumped on it. Will read very soon. True Love is due to be published by Harper in North America, on July 7th, 2020.
Nicole Jarvis, THE LIGHTS OF PRAGUE (Titan)
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavica, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischer — a widow with secrets of her own.
When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady — a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle — he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp captured in a mysterious container. Now, as it’s bearer, Domek wields its power, but the wisp, known for leading travellers to their deaths, will not be so easily controlled.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavica that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
Spotted this in a catalogue only a short while before it arrived in the mail (must be a reviewer-publicist mind-meld or something…). Sounds interesting, and I’m looking forward to giving it a try. The Lights of Prague is due to be published by Titan Books in North America and in the UK, on July 21st, 2020.
N.K. Jemisin, THE CITY WE BECAME (Orbit)
A story of culture, identity, magic, and myths in contemporary New York City.
In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power.
In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it’s as if the paint is literally calling to her.
In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels.
And they’re not the only ones.
The latest novel from the three-time Hugo Award winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy. Not sure this really needs much of an introduction. I’ve been a fan of Jemisin’s writing for years, and I’m very much looking forward to reading this novel. The City We Became is out now, published by Orbit Books in North America and in the UK.
Stephen Graham Jones, NIGHT OF THE MANNEQUINS (Tor.com)
A contemporary horror story where a teen prank goes very wrong and all hell breaks loose: is there a supernatural cause, a psychopath on the loose, or both?
A rather sparse synopsis… Couldn’t find a more-detailed description of the novella. However, it sounds intriguing, and Jones is a very good writer, so I thought I’d give it a try. Night of the Mannequins is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on July 14th, 2020.
Val Kilmer, I’M YOUR HUCKLEBERRY (Simon & Schuster)
Val Kilmer has played many iconic roles over his nearly four-decade film career. A table-dancing Cold War agent in Top Secret! A troublemaking science prodigy in Real Genius. A brash fighter pilot in Top Gun. A swashbuckling knight in Willow. A lovelorn bank robber in Heat. A charming master of disguise in The Saint. A wise-cracking detective in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Of course, Batman, Jim Morrison and the sharp-shooting Doc Holliday.
But who is the real Val Kilmer? With I’m Your Huckleberry — published ahead of next summer’s highly anticipated sequel Top Gun: Maverick, in which Kilmer returns to the big screen as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky — the enigmatic actor at last steps out of character and reveals his true self.
In this uniquely assembled memoir — featuring vivid prose, snippets of poetry and rarely-seen photos — Kilmer reflects on his acclaimed career, including becoming the youngest actor ever admitted to the Juilliard School’s famed drama department, determinedly campaigning to win the lead part in The Doors, and realizing a years-long dream of performing a one-man show as his hero Mark Twain. He shares candid stories of working with screen legends Marlon Brando, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr. and Robert De Niro, and recounts high-profile romances with Cher, Cindy Crawford, Daryl Hannah, and former wife Joanne Whalley. He chronicles his spiritual journey and lifelong belief in Christian Science, and describes travels to far-flung locales such as a scarcely inhabited island in the Indian Ocean where he suffered from delirium and was cared for by the resident tribe. And he reveals details of his recent throat cancer diagnosis and recovery — about which he has disclosed little until now.
While containing plenty of tantalizing celebrity anecdotes, I’m Your Huckleberry — taken from the famous line Kilmer delivers as Holliday in Tombstone — is ultimately a singularly written and deeply moving reflection on mortality and the mysteries of life.
I’ve been a fan of Val Kilmer’s movies for many, many years now. I’m not entirely sure which of his was the first I saw, but I know Batman Forever left a mark, as did Top Gun, and Heat and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang remain favourites. I’m really looking forward to reading this memoir. I’m Your Huckleberry is due to be published by Simon & Schuster on April 21st, 2020 in North America and in the UK.
Yoon Ha Lee, PHOENIX EXTRAVAGANT (Solaris)
For generations the empire has spread across the world, nigh-unstoppable in their advance. Its power depends on its automata, magically animated and programmed with sigils and patterns painted in mystical pigments.
A symbol-painter – themselves a colonial subject – is frustrated in their work when their supply of Phoenix Extravagant dries up, and sets out to find the source. What they’ll discover is darker than anything they could have imagined…
The latest novel from the author of the award-winning Ninefox Gambit. Really looking forward to reading this, and hope to do so soon. Phoenix Extravagant is due to be published by Solaris on June 9th, in North America and in the UK.
David Litt, DEMOCRACY IN ONE BOOK OR LESS (Ecco)
Here’s something true for almost every American. The democracy you live in today is different – completely different – than the democracy you were born into.
Since 1980, the number of Americans legally barred from voting has more than doubled. Since the 1990s, your odds of living in a competitive Congressional district have fallen by more than half. In the twenty-first century alone, the amount of money spent on Washington lobbying has increased by more than 100 percent. Meanwhile, new rules in Congress make passing new bills nearly impossible, no matter how popular or bipartisan they are.
No wonder it feels like our representatives have stopped representing us. Thanks to changes you never agreed to, and that you probably don’t even know about, your slice of power – your say in how your country is run – is smaller than it’s ever been.
How did this happen? And how can we fix it before it’s too late? That’s what former Obama speechwriter David Litt set out to answer.
Poking into forgotten corners of history, Litt tells the true story of how the world’s greatest experiment in democracy went awry. Translating political science into plain English, he explains how our system of government really works. Searching for solutions, he speaks to experts, office-holders, and activists nationwide.
He also tries to crash a party at Mitch McConnell’s former frat house. It goes poorly.
But Democracy in One Book or Less is more than just an engaging narrative. Litt provides a to-do list of meaningful, practical changes – a blueprint for restoring the balance of power in America before it’s too late.
Pitched as “Bill Bryson meets Thomas Frank”, this sounds pretty interesting. I enjoyed the author’s first book, Thanks, Obama. I’ll be reading this pretty soon. Democracy in One Book or Less is due to be published by Ecco in North America and the UK, on June 16th, 2020.
David Mack, THE SHADOW COMMISSION (Tor)
The wizards of the Cold War must uncover a secret cabal responsible for the Kennedy assassination…
November 1963. Cade and Anja have lived in hiding for a decade, training new mages. Then the assassination of President Kennedy trigger a series of murders whose victims are all magicians — with Cade, Anja, and their allies as its prime targets. Their only hope of survival: learning how to fight back against the sinister cabal known as the Shadow Commission.
The third novel in the author’s Dark Arts series, one that is high on my TBR and I am very much looking forward to reading. The Shadow Commission is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, in June 2020.
Matthew Pyper, THE RESIDENCE (Skybound)
In this gripping and terrifying horror story based on true events, the President’s late son haunts the White House, breaking the spirit of what remains of the First Family and the divided America beyond the residence’s walls.
The year is 1853. President-elect Franklin Pierce is traveling with his family to Washington, DC, when tragedy strikes. In an instant, their train runs off the rails, violently flinging passengers about the cabin. But when the great iron machine finally comes to rest, the only casualty is the President-elect’s beloved son, Bennie, which casts Franklin’s presidency in a pall of sorrow and grief.
As Franklin moves into the White House, he begins to notice that something bizarre is happening. Strange sounds coming from the walls and ceiling, creepy voices that seem to echo out of time itself, and visions of spirits crushed under the weight of American history.
But when First Lady Jane Pierce brings in the most noted Spiritualists of the day, the Fox sisters, for a séance, the barrier between this world and the next is torn asunder. Something horrible comes through and takes up residence alongside Franklin and Jane in the walls of the very mansion itself.
Only by overcoming their grief and confronting their darkest secrets can Jane and Franklin hope to rid themselves — and America — from the entity that seeks to make the White House its permanent home.
John Scalzi, THE LAST EMPEROX (Tor)
The collapse of The Flow, the interstellar pathway between the planets of the Interdependency, has accelerated. Entire star systems — and billions of people — are becoming cut off from the rest of human civilization. This collapse was foretold through scientific prediction… and yet, even as the evidence is obvious and insurmountable, many still try to rationalize, delay and profit from, these final days of one of the greatest empires humanity has ever known.
Emperox Grayland II has finally wrested control of her empire from those who oppose her and who deny the reality of this collapse. But “control” is a slippery thing, and even as Grayland strives to save as many of her people form impoverished isolation, the forces opposing her rule will make a final, desperate push to topple her from her throne and power, by any means necessary. Grayland and her thinning list of allies must use every tool at their disposal to save themselves, and all of humanity. And yet it may not be enough.
Will Grayland become the savior of her civilization… or the last emperox to wear the crown?
Alexis Schaitkin, SAINT X (Celadon)
Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister, Alison, disappears on the last night of their family vacation at a resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X. Several days later, Alison’s body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men ― employees at the resort ― are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. The story turns into national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved. For Claire and her parents, there is only the return home to broken lives.
Years later, Claire is living and working in New York City when a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with Clive Richardson, one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. It is a moment that sets Claire on an obsessive pursuit of the truth ― not only to find out what happened the night of Alison’s death but also to answer the elusive question: Who exactly was her sister? At seven, Claire had been barely old enough to know her: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation.
As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will reveal the truth, an unlikely attachment develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by the same tragedy.
V.E. Schwab, THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE (Tor Books)
A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever — and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
This has been getting a bit of buzz since it was announced. It’s still a while until the book is published, but I imagine the buzz is only going to grow. Don’t know much about the book, but the synopsis certainly sounds interesting, and I’ve enjoyed Schwab’s work in the past. So, looking forward to reading this — which I will soon, but I’ll put off posting the review until closer to release. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and Titan Books in the UK, on October 6th.
Matt Sorum, DOUBLE TALKIN’ JIVE (Chicago Review Press)
Matt Sorum’s brutally honest biography that dares to be reckless
In DoubleTalkin’ Jive legendary drummer Matt Sorum takes music lovers behind the scenes of a remarkable life in rock. Sorum, whose albums have sold tens of millions of copies around the world, provides an honest, engaging account of the highs and lows of superstardom.
Sorum recounts his childhood years idolizing Ringo Starr and surviving an abusive stepfather. After leaving high school, Sorum sold pot to get by. Over time, his drug dealing escalated to smuggling large quantities of cocaine, a career that came to a halt following a dramatic shoot-out. Sorum fled his old life and settled in Hollywood, where he’d enjoy a rapid ascension to rock ‘n’ roll immortality. He caught his big break drumming for the Cult, and only a year later was invited to join Guns N’ Roses, with whom he’d record two of rock’s most iconic albums: Use Your Illusion 1 and 2. Sorum opens up with forthright honesty, sharing anecdotes from his time touring the globe, battling drug and alcohol addiction, and navigating volatile relationships with Axl Rose, Slash, and the rest of the GNR team.
His career with the Cult, Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, Motörhead, the Hollywood Vampires, and Kings of Chaos costars an ensemble of rock royalty, from Gene Simmons and Billy Idol to Steven Tyler and Alice Cooper.Double Talkin’ Jive goes beyond the clichés of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, telling the very human story of what it takes to make it in music, and the toll stardom exacts from those who achieve success. Sorum invites fans to revel in the debauchery of the good times, but also paints a stark portrait of life after the party. Music fans of any generation will find value in the pages of this evocative, thoughtful, and candid autobiography.
Another Guns ‘n’ Roses-related memoir. In addition to GnR, though, Sorum has also been the drummer for two other bands I really like: Velvet Revolver and The Cult. I very much enjoyed Duff McKagan’s and Slash’s memoirs, so I’m looking forward to getting another side of the story. Double Talkin’ Jive is due to be published by Chicago Review Press in July 2020, in North America and in the UK.
Zoje Stage, WONDERLAND (Mulholland)
A mother must protect her family from the unnatural forces threatening their new and improved life in a rural farmhouse.
The Bennett family — artist parents and two precocious children — are leaving their familiar urban surroundings for a new home in far upstate New York. They’re an hour from the nearest city, a mile from the nearest house, and everyone has their own room for the very first time. Shaw, the father, even gets his own painting studio, now that he and his wife Orla, a retired dancer, have agreed that it’s his turn to pursue his passion.
But none of the Bennetts expect what lies waiting in the lovely woods, where secrets run dark and deep. Orla must finally find a way to communicate with — not just resist — this unknown entity that is coming to her family, calling to them from the land, in the earth, beneath the trees… and in their minds.
Staff of New York Times, ELEVATED: THE GLOBAL RISE OF THE N.B.A. (Triumph Books)
Howard Beck. Marc Stein. Jonathan Abrams. Chris Broussard. Ira Berkow. George Vecsey. Mike Wise. Selena Roberts. Lee Jenkins. All have graced the pages of The New York Times, entertaining readers with their probing coverage of the N.B.A.: a stage on which spectacular athletes perform against a backdrop of continuous social change. Now, their work and more is collected in a new volume, edited and annotated by Hall of Fame honoree Harvey Araton, tracing basketball’s sustained boom from Magic and Bird to the present.
Elevated provides a courtside seat to four decades of professional basketball. Both the iconic moments and those quieter, but no less meaningful times in between are here, from Wise riding around Los Angeles with a young Kobe Bryant on the eve of his first All-Star Game, to Stein declaring Giannis Antetokounmpo’s “unspeakable greatness” to the world in a riveting profile. Rather than simply preserving the past, Elevated reexamines and further illuminates hoops history. This expertly curated collection features exclusive new writing by Araton and postscripts from the original journalists, revealing candid exchanges with NBA greats that didn’t make the original newspaper edit and tracing the rise of a worldwide phenomenon from a contemporary vantage point.
Since moving to Canada, I have been able to start watching NBA games. As a kid, basketball was my favourite sport to play, but I think I only ever watched one NBA game on TV before 2015. I just never had the chance to do so. Since 2015, I’ve gone to at least one live game in Toronto every year (occasionally two). In fact, that’s what we’ll be doing on my birthday this year, too. I’ve become rather obsessed with the sport. When I saw this book available for request, I thought I’d give it a try. Elevated is out now, published by Triumph Books in North America and in the UK.
Review copy received via Edelweiss
Ryan Van Loan, THE SIN IN THE STEEL (Tor Books)
Heroes for hire. If you can pay.
Her mind leaps from clues to conclusions in the blink of an eye.
No. Not in crime — in crime-solving.
They’ve been hired for their biggest job yet — one that will set them up for a life of ease.
If they survive.
Buc and Eld are the first private detectives in a world where pirates roam the seas, mages speak to each other across oceans, mechanical devices change the tide of battle, and earthly wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few.
It’s been weeks since ships last returned to the magnificent city of Servenza with bounty from the Shattered Coast. Disaster threatens not just the city’s trading companies but the empire itself. When Buc and Eld are hired to investigate, Buc swiftly discovers that the trade routes have become the domain of a sharp-eyed pirate queen who sinks all who defy her.
Now all Buc and Eld have to do is sink the Widowmaker’s ship….
Unfortunately for Buc, the gods have other plans.
Unfortunately for the gods, so does Buc.
This started getting a little bit of buzz a few weeks ago, and I’ve been looking forward to giving it a try since I read the synopsis in a Macmillan catalogue. I’ll be reading this very soon. The Sin in the Steel is due to be published by Tor Books in North America and in the UK, on July 21st, 2020.
Adrian J. Walker, THE HUMAN SON (Solaris)
500 YEARS IN THE FUTURE, EARTH IS A PARADISE… WITHOUT US.
The Earth was dying, and only the Erta could save it. Created to be genetically superior, hyper-intelligent and unburdened by the full range of human emotions, they succeeded by removing the cause: humans.
Now the Erta are faced with a dilemma — if they reintroduce the rebellious and violent Homo sapiens, all of their work could be undone.
They decide to raise one child: a sole human to decide if we should again inherit the Earth.
But the quiet and clinical Ima finds that there is more to raising a human than she had expected; and there is more to humanity’s history than she has been told.
I missed Walker’s first couple of novels (published by Orbit), because I just got a bit overwhelmed with review copies of books I really wanted to read. They still sound interesting, and remain on my TBR mountain. This also sounds interesting, and I might read it first. The Human Son is due to be published by Solaris Books on April 28th, in North America and in the UK.
Also on CR: Excerpt from The Last Dog on Earth
Matt Wallace, SAVAGE LEGION (Saga)
An epic fantasy about a utopian city with a dark secret… and the underdogs who will expose it, or die trying.
They call them Savages. Brutal. Efficient. Expendable.
The empire relies on them. The Savages are the greatest weapon they ever developed. Culled from the streets of their cities, they take the ones no one will miss and throw them, by the thousands, at the empire’s enemies. If they live, they fight again. If they die, there are always more to take their place.
Evie is not a Savage. She’s a warrior with a mission: to find the man she once loved, the man who holds the key to exposing the secret of the Savage Legion and ending the mass conscription of the empire’s poor and wretched.
But to find him, she must become one of them, to be marked in her blood, to fight in their wars, and to find her purpose. Evie will die a Savage if she has to, but not before showing the world who she really is and what the Savage Legion can really do.
The first novel in a new epic fantasy series, this sounds really good. Looking forward to reading it soon. Savage Legion is due to be published by Saga Press on July 21st, 2020.
Martha Wells, NETWORK EFFECT (Tor.com)
You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.
Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.
I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.
When Murderbot’s human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.
Drastic action it is, then.
The fifth book in the superb Murderbot Diaries series, and the first full-length novel! I loved the first four books, and cannot wait to dive into this one. In fact, I think I’ll read it next… Network Effect is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on May 5th, 2020.
Also on CR: Reviews of All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy
Ben Widdicombe, GATECRASHER (Simon & Schuster)
A smart, gossipy, and very funny examination of celebrity culture from New York’s premiere social columnist.
Ben Widdicombe is the only writer to have worked for Page Six, TMZ, and The New York Times — an unusual Triple Crown that allowed him personal access to the full gamut of Hollywood and high society’s rich and famous, from billionaires like Rupert Murdoch, Donald Trump, and the Koch brothers, to pop culture icons Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. Now, in Gatecrasher, New York’s premiere gossip-turned-society writer spills the sensational stories that never made it to print.
Widdicombe has appeared at nearly every gossip-worthy venue — from the Oscars and the Hamptons, to the Met Gala and Mar-a-Lago — and has rubbed elbows with a dizzying array of celebrities (and wannabes), and he whisks us past the clipboard and velvet rope to teach us the golden rules of gatecrashing, dishing on dozens of boldface names along the way.
Widdicombe shares secrets for how to crash the parties, climb the ladder, avoid the paparazzi, or make small talk with Henry Kissinger and Anna Wintour. Endlessly fun and extremely telling, Gatecrasher makes the unnerving argument that Paris Hilton conquering pop culture two decades ago lead to Donald Trump winning the White House. “As the gossip pages go, so goes the country,” he says.
Thought this sounded like it could be quite interesting. Don’t think I’ve read anything by the author before, but willing to give it a shot. Gatecrasher is due to be published by in North America by Simon & Schuster on July 7th, 2020.
Anna Wiener, UNCANNY VALLEY (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
The prescient, page-turning account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age
In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener — stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial — left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress.
Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building.
Part coming-of-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment.
Unsparing and incisive, Uncanny Valley is a cautionary tale, and a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.
I’ve been looking forward to reading this for a long while. I’ve listened to a number of interviews with the author, and she has interesting, fascinating and valuable insights and stories about Silicon Valley and its denizens. I finished this a couple of days before this post went live, and I’ll have a review up very soon (short version: it’s excellent). Uncanny Valley is out now, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in North America, and Fourth Estate in the UK.
Various, HORUS HERESY: HERALDS OF THE SIEGE (Black Library)
A galaxy burns and brother turns on brother as the conflict brought about by a beloved son’s betrayal reaches its fateful end. The Warmaster Horus has triumphed. His massive fleet at last nears Terra and the patriarchal Throne of his hated father. Many have fallen to bring this moment about, their tales are the ashes upon which the Heresy was born and prospered. Others have played their own small parts, drops in an ocean of war and blood. None of it matters. Terra looks to the skies as it raises its defences. Armies muster, heroes raise their swords, citizens cower. The war is coming. And nothing can stop it.
Dark Compliance & Now Peals Midnight by John French
The Painted Count & Duty Waits by Guy Haley
Dreams of Unity by Nick Kyme
Children of Sicarius by Anthony Reynolds
Myriad & The Ember Wolves by Rob Sanders
Exocytosis by James Swallow
The Grey Raven, Valerius & The Board is Set by Gav Thorpe
Blackshield, The Last Son of Prospero, The Soul, Severed & Magisterium by Chris Wraight
The final collection of short stories in the Horus Heresy (at least, the last one as part of the numbered series). I’ve read a few of these stories already, but I’m looking forward to reading the rest. Heralds of the Siege is due to be published in paperback by Black Library in North America and in the UK, on March 31st, 2020.
Review copy received via NetGalley