Well, with only days to go before discussion begins on January’s book of the month club selections, I thought I‘d get the ball rolling on next month’s picks. We have two candidates running in each of the three categories. The nominees are…
Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge, edited by Lou Anders
(From Booklist: “An anthology inspired by its editor’s declaration that “science fiction is a tool for making sense of a changing world” contains quite a range of stories, from Elizabeth Bear’s “The Something-Dreaming Game,” in which children play a fainting game (basically autoerotic asphyxiation), and one girl communicates with the possibly last member of an alien species, to Tony Ballantyne’s “Aristotle OS.” In that mind-boggler, a journalist with computer problems upgrades from the familiar, platonic OSs to the titular system; the different systems operate on the theories of the philosophers referenced, causing some very interesting problems when the journalist connects to the Internet with its wealth of contradictory information. […] Other contributions by such familiar and new names as Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper, Mike Resnick and Nancy Kress, Gene Wolfe, and Paul DiFiippo fill out a worthy menu of engrossing forays into wildly, creatively varied futures.”)
Bright of the Sky: Book One of the Entire and the Rose, by Kay Kenyon
(From Publisher’s Weekly: “..a disastrous mishap during interstellar space travel catapults pilot Titus Quinn with his wife, Johanna Arlis, and nine-year-old daughter, Sydney, into a parallel universe called the Entire. Titus makes it back to this dimension, his hair turned white, his memory gone, his family presumed dead and his reputation ruined with the corporation that employed him. The corporation (in search of radical space travel methods) sends Titus (in search of Johanna and Sydney) back through the space-time warp. There, he gradually, painfully regains knowledge of its rulers, the cruel, alien Tarig; its subordinate, Chinese-inspired humanoid population, the Chalin; and his daughter’s enslavement. Titus’s transformative odyssey to reclaim Sydney reveals a Tarig plan whose ramifications will be felt far beyond his immediate family. Kenyon’s deft prose, high-stakes suspense and skilled, thorough world building will have readers anxious for the next installment.”)
The Darkness That Comes Before: Prince of Nothing Book One, by R. Scott Bakker
(From Amazon.com: “Many centuries ago, the world was nearly destroyed by the dark wizards of the Consult, and the High King’s family was wiped out–or so it seemed. Then from the wild, uncharted north comes a mysterious and extraordinarily powerful philosopher-warrior, Anasurimbor Kellhus, descendant of the ancient High Kings. But the return of the king’s bloodline is little cause for rejoicing. For Kellhus’s appearance may signal the overthrow of empires, the destruction of the sorcerous schools, the return of the Consult demons–and the end of the world.”)
Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions, by Neil Gaiman
(From Publisher’s Weekly: “Imaginative twists on old legends and frightening glimpses into the impossible combine to form this impressive collection of 30 stories and poems by the author of Neverwhere and co-creator of The Sandman graphic novels. Each entry skirts the edges of a puncture in reality through which something dark and mysterious peeks. Then it moves on and the apparition is hidden away again, but not forgotten. The narratives follow a dream logic: The angel Raguel, the Vengeance of the Lord, can bum a cigarette off a youth in L.A. and tell him the truth behind Lucifer’s fall (“Murder Mysteries”), and nonchalant assassins can be found in the Yellow Pages under pest control (“We Can Get Them for You Wholesale”). The bizarre and disturbing essence of the stories is highlighted by their background of absolute normalcy. Their prose is simple yet evocative, and Gaiman’s characters are textured with well-defined personalities.”
Children of the Night, by Dan Simmons
(From Library Journal: “While studying diseases of the blood in present-day Romania, hematologist Kate Neuman adopts an orphaned infant with an unusual immune system. Upon her return to the States, the baby is kidnapped and returned to its homeland. Aided by an American priest and a Romanian medical student, each with his own interest in the child, Kate traces it to a mysterious group linked to the legendary Dracula. Her attempts to discover the motive behind the kidnapping and to reclaim the baby form the heart of this thrilling and wonderfully diverting novel.”
Fevre Dream, by George R. R. Martin
(From the Inside Flap: “…Marsh meant to turn down York’s offer. It was too full of secrets that spelled danger. But the promise of both gold and a grand new boat that could make history crushed his resolve–coupled with the terrible force of York’s mesmerizing gaze. Not until the maiden voyage of his new sidewheeler Fevre Dream would Marsh realize he had joined a mission both more sinister, and perhaps more noble, than his most fantastic nightmare…and mankind’s most impossible dream. Here is the spellbinding tale of a vampire’s quest to unite his race with humanity, of a garrulous riverman’s dream of immortality, and of the undying legends of the steamboat era and a majestic, ancient river.”)
Start voting. Polls close midnight Tuesday.
Today’s pics: Miscellaneous photos from mom and sis’s recent visit.
Today’s blog is dedicated to birthday boy My Name Is Scott and birthday girl Valkyrie.
Today’s mail –
Valkyrie writes: “What’s the difference between a teleplay and a script?”
Answer: When someone is given the written by credit, they are being credited with having coming up with the story idea AND written the actual script. When someone is given the teleplay credited, they are being credited with the writing of a script based on someone else’s story.
Inkiya writes: “Do your dogs do the barking and howling too or do you have tought them to behave?”
Answer: Hell yes they bark. And howl!
Enzo Aquarius writes: “Reading your comment on the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, do you have any plans to attend it?”
Answer: Do I! http://josephmallozzi.com/2006/12/19/december-18-2006/
Maggiemayday writes: “Do you mind my self-centered rambling as a substitute for relevant and/or profound questions?”
Answer: Actually, I find your ramblings charmingly relevant and profoundly self-centered. Go figure.
AtlantisQueen writes: “i was wondering if you can tell me how to get a music license?”
Answer: I can’t. Alas, not my area of expertise. However, feel free to ask me any questions about medieval musical instruments, the old Planet of the Apes movies, or gnome lore.
Rscvmiss writes: “I was wondering, as a writer, do you find yourself criticizing/analyzing other people’s work (be it a TV show, movie, etc.)?”
Answer: All the time. Alternately, I’m also more inclined to laud really good work.
Padawan Aneiki writes: “How are episode soundtracks handled with such a tight production schedule? How quickly does Mr. Goldsmith crank out new material, vs. how often to you “recycle” certain music beds that he’s written in the past?”
Answer: Over the course of the franchise’s lengthy run, Joel has amassed a fairly impressive music library that he does make use of. Over the course of a season, there’s usually a 50-50 split between new and established material. As for how Joel does it – he’s extremely talented. And fast.
a. loquita writes: “ I received an advanced copy of your “working titles” for the first half of season 5. […] And of course the highly anticipated mid-season cliffhanger will come at the end of: 10. The Long Anticipated Toilet Episode. Ohhh, I’m just so excited about season 5 already!!! I’m so right, aren’t I?”
Answer: Yes, with the exception of the toilet episode. Carl had a really hard time getting that one out before the strike.
Keirberos writes: “Have you ever had emu or kangaroo?”
Answer: Never had emu but did try a kangaroo burger once. I wasn’t exactly blown away.
Annie from Freemantle writes: “Joe do you use any programmes to enhance your pics ?”
Answer: Nope. I just point and snap. Which is why a number of fans use their own software to “fix my pics”.
Sagacious writes: “From where do you purchase your books?”
Answer: Lately – Amazon.com
Anais33 a ecrit: “Combient d’heure d’avion y’a t’il entre Vancouvert et Montréal?”
Reponse: Environs cinq.
Sort of translation: It takes about 5 hours to fly from Vancouver to Montreal
MrsB108 writes: “Are there anymore surprises/reveals that will have fandom on the edge of their seats?”