Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New in Science Fiction & Fantasy

July's crop of new SF/Fantasy is in. Let's see what we've got:

First up is Wizard Squared by K. E. Mills, the third in her "Rogue Agent" series. In this installment of his amusing adventures, bureaucratic wizard Gerald Dunwoody is confronted by his evil twin from a parallel universe. Hilarity ensues.

Next up is Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter. In this updating of Shakespeare's Tempest, Miranda is alive 400 years later and running Prospero, Inc. using the family magic to help the mundane and the mythic coexist. A lesson in not judging books by their covers, this novel is not a lyrical meditation but a ripping yarn that ends on a cliffhanger.

Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn is the latest story of Kitty Norville, alpha werewolf and host of "the Midnight Hour", a call-in radio show. This time around Kitty is hired to help a group of veteran soldiers fresh out of Afghanistan and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Problem is, the soldiers are werewolves too and their PTSD has stripped them of their ability to control their shape-shifting. Also, Kitty is being sued for libel. Compelling and fun, these novels are great summer reads.

Just released in mass market paperback is The Eternal Prison by Jeff Somers, the third Avery Cates novel (book 4, The Terminal State will be released at the end of July). Somers continues to deliver hard-boiled action in his bladerunner-like near-future. Avery Cates faces bioengineered plagues, incarceration, betrayal, and death, and it's beginning to take its toll . . .

Famed director Guillermo Del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) has given us a gory and terrifying vampire novel in The Strain. Monstrous vampires (remember when that adjective wasn't necessary?) have unleashed their plague upon the world and humanity seems unable to stem the tide. It's Blade meets Outbreak awash in blood. This is the 1st volume in a projected trilogy chronicling humanity's struggle with the vampire menace (book 2 is scheduled for September).

Speaking of vampire, Bullet is the latest Anita Blake novel by bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton. Anita, vampire hunter and U. S. marshal, is trying to settle down to a normal life (a herculean task to say the least). But her past will not let her go, namely The Dark Mother, creator of all vampires. Not as dead as Anita had hoped, this malevolent god is looking for vengeance and things look grim for Anita's "normal" life.

Normal has no place in a China Mieville novel, and Kraken is no exception. A strange, frightening, and funny novel, Mieville's latest follows a humble London Museum curator as he is sucked into an underworld of criminals, cultists, and cops by the theft of perfectly preserved giant squid from the museum.

Last but not least is Nights of Villjamur, Mark Charan Newton's debut novel and the first in his upcoming Legends of the Red Sun series. Mixing fantasy, murder mystery, and a little science fiction, Newton gives us the brooding tale of an imperial capital torn by madness and intrigue within and besieged by an encroaching ice age without. Reminiscent of Gormenghast, this bold debut marks the start of a promising career.

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