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Book Buzz: Latest Star Wars Novel Hits Shelves This Week

And get a look inside the Watchmen With Titan Books

By Tim Janson     October 20, 2008


Millennium Falcon by James Luceno (2008).
© Del Rey Books

 

The biggest star this week isn’t an alien, or wizard, or vampire but a space ship! Specifically it’s the Millennium Falcon and Star Wars’ most famous ship is the subject of the latest novel in the SW universe from Del Rey Books. James Luceno, who has written numerous Star Wars novels including Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, returns with a book that will delve into history of the Millennium Falcon and it’s many adventures.
 
Also on tap this week is Watching the Watchmen from Titan Books. This non-fiction title written by Warchmen artist Dave Gibbons promises to be the ultimate companion to the comic series and the upcoming film. Gibbons will reveal a host of information including original character design art, excised pages, early script versions, and rare portfolio art. This promises to be a must have title for comic book fans.
 
For fantasy fans it’s a pretty slow week but the next couple of weeks are huge. This year’s World Fantasy Convention is less than two weeks away, taking place Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 in Calgary, Canada. If you’re interested in learning more about the con, check out their link here: http://www.worldfantasy2008.org/
 
The final ballot for the World Fantasy Award nominees includes:
 
Novel
Territory Emma Bull [Tor]
Ysabel Guy Gavriel Kay [Viking Canada/Penguin Roc]
Fangland John Marks [Penguin Press]
Gospel of the Knife Will Shetterly [Tor]
The Servants Michael Marshall Smith [Earthling Publications]
 
Novella
The Mermaids Robert Edric [PS Publishing]
Illyria Elizabeth Hand [PS Publishing]
"The Master Miller’s Tale" Ian R. MacLeod [F&SF May 2007]
"Cold Snap" Kim Newman [The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club, MonkeyBrain Books]
"Stars Seen through Stone" Lucius Shepard [F&SF July 2007]
 
Short Story
"The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics" Daniel Abraham [Logorrhea, Bantam Spectra]
"Singing of Mount Abora" Theodora Goss [Logorrhea, Bantam Spectra]
"The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change" Kij Johnson [The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales, Viking]
"Damned if you Don’t " Robert Shearman" [Tiny Deaths, Comma Press]
"The Church on the Island" Simon Kurt Unsworth [At Ease with the Dead,
Ash-Tree Press]
 
Anthology
Five Strokes to Midnight Gary A. Braunbeck & Hank Schwaeble, Eds. [Haunted Pelican Press]
Wizards: Magical Tales From The Masters of Modern Fantasy
Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, Eds. [Berkley]
Inferno: New Tales of Terror and the Supernatural Ellen Datlow, Editor [Tor]
The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, Eds.[Viking]
Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories John Klima, Editor [Bantam Spectra]
 
Collection
Plots and Misadventures Stephen Gallagher [Subterranean Press]
Portable Childhoods Ellen Klages [Tachyon Publications]
The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club Kim Newman [MonkeyBrain Books]
Hart & Boot & Other Stories Tim Pratt [Night Shade Books]
Tiny Deaths Robert Shearman [Comma Press]
Dagger Key and Other Stories Lucius Shepard [PS Publishing]
 
Artist
Ruan Jia
Mikko Kinnunen
Stephan Martiniere
Edward Miller
John Picacio
 
Special Award—Professional
Allison Baker and Chris Roberson for MonkeyBrain Books
Alan Beatts and Jude Feldman for Borderlands Books
Peter Crowther for PS Publishing
Gordon Van Gelder for F&SF
Jeremy Lassen and Jason Williams for Night Shade Books
Shawna McCarthy for Realms of Fantasy
 
Special Award—Non-professional
Midori Snyder and Terri Windling for Endicott Studios Website
G. S. Evans and Alice Whittenburg for Cafe Irreal
Stephen Jones, Editor for Travellers in Darkness: The Souvenir Book of the World Horror Convention 2007
John Klima for Electric Velocipede
Rosalie Parker and Raymond Russell for Tartarus Press
 
 
New In Science Fiction
 
Star Wars Millennium Falcon James Luceno (Del Rey hardcover)
 
Two years have passed since Jacen Solo, seduced by the dark side and reanointed as the brutal Sith Lord Darth Caedus, died at the hands of his twin sister, Jaina, Sword of the Jedi. For a grieving Han and Leia, the shadow of their son’s tragic downfall still looms large. But Jacen’s own bright and loving daughter, Allana, offers a ray of hope for the future as she thrives in her grandparents’ care. And when the eager, inquisitive girl, in whom the Force grows ever stronger, makes a curious discovery aboard her grandfather’s beloved spacecraft–the much-overhauled but ever-dependable Millennium Falcon–the Solo family finds itself at a new turning point, about to set out on an odyssey into uncertain territory, untold adventure, and unexpected rewards.
To Han, who knows every bolt, weld, and sensor of the Falcon as if they were parts of himself, the strange device Allana shows him is utterly alien. But its confounding presence–and Allana’s infectious desire to unravel its mystery–are impossible to dismiss. The only answer lies in backtracking into the past on a fact-finding expedition to retrace the people, places, and events in the checkered history of the vessel that’s done everything from making the Kessel Run “in less than twelve parsecs” to helping topple an evil empire.
 
From the moment the Falcon broke loose from a Corellian assembly line like an untamed creature with a will of its own, it seemed destined to seek out trouble. It wasn’t long before the feisty YT-1300 freighter went from shuttling cargo to smuggling contraband. But it‘s a fateful rendezvous on Coruscant, at the explosive height of the Republic/Separatist uprising, that launches a galaxywide cat-and-mouse game whose newest players are Han, Leia, Allana, and C-3PO. And they’re not alone: Crime lords, galactic pirates, rogue politicians, and fortune hunters alike loom at every turn of the quest–each with his or her own desperate stake in the Millennium Falcon’s most momentous mission. Through the years and across the stars, from the Rim worlds to unknown points beyond, the race will lead them all to a final standoff for a prize some will risk everything to find–and pay any cost to possess.
 
Star Trek SCE Wounds Ilsa Bick (Star Trek Books)
 
The Dominion War has been over for a year, but its legacy lives on. Commander Sonya Gomez, former Starship Enterprise™ engineer, and her crack Starfleet Corps of Engineers team on the U.S.S. da Vinci find themselves dealing with many permutations of that legacy.
Two mysterious murders on the da Vinci lead to the Gamma Quadrant and a Dominion base. A pre-warp planet occupied by the Dominion still has scars from both sides of that conflict. Plus Gomez, computer expert Soloman, and Security Chief Corsi are haunted by demons from their past. But the greatest threat of all comes from a visit to Deep Space 9™. A fissure has opened up between realities, endangering the very existence of the Bajoran system -- and also stranding Doctors Lense and Bashir on a war-torn planet from which they may never escape.
 
Fast Forward 2 Lou Anders (Pyr)
 
When Fast Forward 1 debuted in February 2007, it marked the first major all-original, all-SF anthology series to appear in some time and it was met with a huge outpouring of excitement and approbation from the science fiction community. No less than seven stories from Fast Forward 1 were chosen to be reprinted a total of nine times in the four major Best of the Year retrospective anthologies, a wonderful testament to the quality of contributions in our inaugural book. What's more, Fast Forward 1 was hailed repeatedly as leading the charge in a return of original, unthemed anthologies series (several more have since appeared in our wake). Now the critically-acclaimed, groundbreaking series continues, featuring all new stories from: Paul Cornell, Kay Kenyon, Chris Nakashima-Brown, Nancy Kress, Jack Skillingstead, Cory Doctorow and Benjamin Rosenbaum, Jack McDevitt, Paul McAuley, Mike Resnick and Pat Cadigan, Ian McDonald, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Karl Schroeder and Tobias S. Buckell, Jeff Carlson, Paolo Bacigalupi.
 
Doctor Who: The Doctor Trap Simon Messingham (Random House UK)
 
Sebastiene was human... once. He might look like a nineteenth-century nobleman, but in truth he is a ruthless hunter. He likes nothing more than luring difficult opposition to a planet, then hunting them down for sport. And now he's caught them all - from Zargregs to Moogs, and even the odd Eternal. In fact, Sebastiene is after only one more prize. For this trophy, he knows he is going to need help. He's brought together the finest hunters in the universe to play the most dangerous game for the deadliest quarry of them all. They are hunting for the last of the Time Lords - the Doctor!
 
Doctor Who: Shining Darkness Mark Michalowski (Random House UK)

For Donna Noble, the Andromeda galaxy is a long, long way from home. But even two-and-a-half-million light years from Earth, danger lurks around every corner... A visit to an art gallery turns into a race across space to uncover the secret behind a shadowy organization. From the desert world of Karris to the interplanetary scrapyard of Junk, the Doctor and Donna discover that appearances can be deceptive, that enemies are lurking around every corner, and that the centuries-long peace between humans and machines may be about to come to an end... because waiting in the wings to bring chaos to the galaxy is The Cult of Shining Darkness!
 
New In Fantasy
 
The Indigo King James A. Owen (Simon & Shuster)
 
On a September evening in 1931, John and Jack, two of the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, discover a cryptic warning on a medieval manuscript -- which is not only addressed to them but seems to have been written by their friend, Hugo Dyson! But before they can discover the origin of the strange book, Hugo walks through a door in time -- and vanishes into the past.
 
And in that moment, the world begins to change. The Frontier, which separates our world from the Archipelago of Dreams, has fallen. Dark and terrible beasts roam throughout England. No one can be summoned from the Archipelago. And both worlds have fallen into darkness under the reign of a cruel and terrible king.
 
The only hope to restore the proper order of things lies on a forgotten island at the edge of the Archipelago, where a time travel device left by Jules Verne must be used to race through history itself -- from the Bronze Age to ancient Alexandria and the founding of the Silver Throne -- in one night. And in that single night, John and Jack will find that the only way to save their friend and stop the chaos destroying the world is to solve a 2,000-year-old mystery: Who is the Cartographer?
 
New In Horror
 
Vampire Hunter D Vol. 11   Hideyuki Kikuchi (Dark Horse Books)
 
"Pale Fallen Angels" parts one and two, the first two novels of Hideyuki Kikuchi's groundbreaking, epic four-part Vampire Hunter D tale, are presented here in one affordable omnibus collection! When Lord Vlad's son, Baron Byron Balarge, needs to make a long and treacherous journey to faraway Krauhasen, he commissions the help of the infamous Vampire Hunter D, promising a princely sum and a solemn vow - no feasting on any humans for the duration of their journey! Still, D finds his work cut out for him as the duo encounters an ongoing parade of thugs, rogues, and runaways, all with riot and revenge in mind!
 
Richard Matheson’s Hell House (IDW Publishing)
 
IDW brings you this lavishly illustrated adaptation of Richard Matheson's tale of newspaper publisher Rudolph Deutsch facing his impending demise. To help Deutsch forestall his death and to learn the secrets of life after death, a team of experts must survive a night in Belasco House, a place known amongst the local townsfolk as "Hell House." The notorious Belasco House starts to exert its dark influence on the group of scientists and spiritualists as they unearth the perverse and wretched secrets from within its walls. Hell House has let them in...but will it ever let them leave?
 
The Mammoth Book of Zombie Comics (Running Press)
 
These zombies just won’t die. Here is the first ever popular collection of zombie comics and short graphic stories. Full of spooky and well-crafted tales from beyond the grave, this collection will appeal to readers of graphic novels, comic books, and followers of the undead. With stories from Vincent Locke, Steve Niles, Hideshi Hino, Joe Lansdale, and many others, this collection will be sure to frighten and entertain even the most undead of readers. 
 
New In Non-fiction
 
Smallville: The official Companion Season 7 Craig Byrne (Titan books)
 
Smallville, the hit series which follows the adventures of a young Clark Kent and his friends – including Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and now Kara Kent aka Super Girl – is one of the hottest shows on TV. This volume of the authorized companion series covers the making of season seven, and is packed with cast and crew interviews, unseen pictures, behind-the-scenes stories and a comprehensive episode guide. Also included are excerpts from the Daily Planet and Chloe’s private blog! Plus in-depth sections on the making of the episodes ‘Action’, ‘Siren’ and ‘Veritas’, as well as a stunning 16-page color photo gallery!
 
Author Craig Byrne unlocks the secrets of Smallville’s fantastic seventh year, complete with a Foreword by Super Girl herself, Laura Vandervoort. 
 
Watching the Watchmen Dave Gibbons (Titan books)
 
 

Enjoy the ultimate companion to a comics masterpiece, as award-winning artist Dave Gibbons gives his own account of the genesis of WATCHMEN in this dust-jacketed hardback volume, opening his vast personal archives to reveal never-published pages, original character designs, page thumbnails, sketches and much more, including posters, covers and rare portfolio art. Featuring the breathtaking design of Chip Kidd and Mike Essl, WATCHING THE WATCHMEN is both a major art book in its own right, and the definitive companion to the graphic novel that changed an industry.

 
Voted among Time magazine's 100 Best Novels from 1923 to the present, a perennial bestseller over the past twenty years and widely considered the greatest graphic novel of all time, WATCHMEN is a gripping, labyrinthine piece of comic art, which has earned an acclaimed place in modern literary history.
 
 
Capsule Reviews
 
And Their Memory Was a Bitter Tree: Queen of the Black Coast & Others Robert E. Howard/Edited by Tim Underwood (Black Bart Books) 
 
 

Like many, my first encounter with Conan the Barbarian was through the old Ace paperback series of the 1970s with the Frank Frazetta covers. I would not know until much later that those stories had been heavily edited by L. Sprague DeCamp and that some of the stories noted as co-written by Howard and DeCamp or Lin Carter were posthumous collaborations, generally written based on a fragment of Howard’s. In the past decade or so a push has been made to provide readers the unexpurgated versions of Howard’s works. Black Bart has done just that with this gorgeous hardcover volume featuring illustrations by both Frazetta and Brom.

 
The book features some of Howard’s greatest Conan stories including “Queen of the Black Coast”, “Shadows in the Moonlight”, “A Witch Shall be Born”, “The Devil In Iron”, “The People of the Black Circle”, “Shadows in Zamboula”, “Red Nails” and “Jewels of Gwahlur”. It also includes three poems written by Howard, an Afterword by H.P. Lovecraft and an introduction by Arnie Fenner. This is 100% Howard, with edits made to the original stories to correct spelling mistakes. If you’ve only read the edited versions of these tales then you have simply not read Howard. My only exception with anything in the book is Fenner’s quote that Howard, while a great storyteller “…simply wasn’t a great writer”. I suppose that is all in the eye of the beholder. I’ve read works by “great writers” that have simply bored me to tears. Fantastic book and it was nice to be reacquainted with these tales after so many years. Grade A
 
 
The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle Jim Butcher (Del Rey)
 
 
 

 

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files has become one of the most popular series in modern fantasy in recent years and now has been adapted in comics format courtesy of Dabel Brothers (who published the original comic series) and Del Rey books who has collected the series into a hardcover graphic novel. “Welcome to the Jungle” is an original tale by Butcher that takes place before “Stormfront” the first novel in the series. The story is illustrated by newcomer Ardian Syaf.
 
Harry is called in by Sgt. Murphy to investigate a murder of a night security guard in a local zoo. The man was mauled to death and a zoo gorilla is blamed. The zoo officials are upset as this may mean the gorilla will be put down. But Harry finds a much more sinister force at work—a witch who is preparing for a ceremony that will give her power that even Harry can’t contend with. While It would have been great to seen an adaptation of Storm Front, “Welcome to the Jungle” is a nice introductory story for fans who may not be familiar with the character. Syaf’s art is solid although unspectacular. The best thing he does is to not try and overshadow the material. Enjoyable start to what will hopefully be a continuing series. Grade B+

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