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Book Buzz: The Living Dead Crawls Your Way
Light week is just the calm before the storm!
By Tim Janson
September 22, 2008
“The Living Dead” crawls your way!
© Nightshade Books
The bad thing about months with five release weeks is that you always get a week or two where the pickings are very slim. Such is the case this week! Everything from fiction to non-fiction is rather light but it’s really just the calm before the storm. Next week promises to be a MONSTER week so you’d best be saving the hard earned cash because you’re going to need it. In this week’s capsule reviews I take a look at Wizards of the Coast’s A Reader’s Guide to The Legend of Drizzt, a new hardcover reference book to R.A. Salvatore’s Drow hero and his world.
New In Fantasy
The Storyteller and Other Tales K.V. Johnson (Sybertooth)
A collection for adults and older teens, The Storyteller and Other Tales will take you on a journey through exotic worlds and times. Demon bears take human shape and devils walk in the north of a world where every hill hosts a god and every river and spring a goddess. Ulfleif, a warrior-princess who would rather carry a lyre than a sword, is drawn into an unfinished tale by the storyteller Moth, and old lays of vengeance and betrayal wake into bloody new life around her. A slave in Bronze-Age Korthan sees his lovers suffer and die for the crime of worshipping outlawed gods and in the midst of horror at their sin, finds his own faith shaken and takes his own first steps on the road to rebellion. In a tale built on the familiar legends of our world, Merlin's daughter relates the story of the fall of Arthur's Britain as you have never heard it, a tale of adultery and treachery old and well-known, yet fresh and startling in Nimiane's telling. The unnamed common men of England who faced a later generation of sea-raiders are given voice once more in the historical tale of the Battle of Maldon, when English fought Vikings at the Blackwater and lost. In all these tales, the common thread is otherness; other worlds, other times, other ways of looking at heroism and tragedy, faith and betrayal and victory. Build the fire up, shut out the dark, and let The Storyteller carry you away.
Chalice Robin McKinley (Putnam Hardcover)
As the newly appointed Chalice, Mirasol is the most important member of the Master’s Circle. It is her duty to bind the Circle, the land and its people together with their new Master. But the new Master of Willowlands is a Priest of Fire, only drawn back into the human world by the sudden death of his brother. No one knows if it is even possible for him to live amongst his people. Mirasol wants the Master to have his chance, but her only training is as a beekeeper. How can she help settle their demesne during these troubled times and bind it to a Priest of Fire, the touch of whose hand can burn human flesh to the bone?
Last Argument of Kings First Law: Book Three Joe Abercrombie (Pyr)
Logen Ninefingers might only have one more fight in him–but it's going to be a big one. Battle rages across the North, the king of the Northmen still stands firm, and there's only one man who can stop him. His oldest friend, and his oldest enemy: it's time for the Bloody-Nine to come home.
With too many masters and too little time, Superior Glokta is fighting a different kind of war. A secret struggle in which no one is safe, and no one can be trusted. As his days with a sword are far behind him, it's fortunate that he's deadly with his remaining weapons: blackmail, threats, and torture. Jezal dan Luthar has decided that winning glory is too painful an undertaking and turned his back on soldiering for a simple life with the woman he loves. But love can be painful too–and glory has a nasty habit of creeping up on a man when he least expects it.
The king of the Union lies on his deathbed, the peasants revolt, and the nobles scramble to steal his crown. No one believes that the shadow of war is about to fall across the heart of the Union. Only the First of the Magi can save the world, but there are risks. There is no risk more terrible, than to break the First Law...
Brisingr Inheritance, Book 3 Christopher Paolini (Knopf Hardcover)
Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.
First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength—as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices— choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice. Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?
New In Science Fiction
Purusha's Urn John R. Johnson (Global)
Purusha's Urn is one of the most startling of the new breed of thought-provoking science fiction novels. In telling the story of one man's search for meaning in a chaotic and hostile world, it also examines our most fundamental questions about the nature of the Universe in which we all live. Is there such a thing as the infinite? Or does our physical Universe have a boundary - a finite shape? If so, what lies beyond its borders, and where does humanity fit into that immense construct? Can the infinitesimally small inhabitants of the cosmos, play any role at all in its ultimate fate? This is the adventure of the mind on which Purusha's Urn will take you. No other story has imagined cataclysm of such cosmic proportions. Exploding stars are but tiny embers wafting above the fiery destiny that awaits our world inside this baffling 6,000 year old relic.
Walking to the Moon Sean McMullen (Wildside Press)
A short story collection by the author of the The Greatwinter Trilogy and the Moonworld series, Walking to the Moon includes many of Sean McMullen's critically-acclaimed short fiction together, featuring a never-before-seen original story set in the world of Greatwinter, "Dragon Black." With an introduction by Jack Dann, the author of The Man Who Melted.
New In Horror
The Second Humdrumming Book of Horror Stories (Humdrumming Books)
Spawned from Horror and Fear come the familiars of Terror — 15 disturbing tales to haunt your days and upset your dreams — every single one now published for the first time. Contributors include: Tim Lebbon, Guy Adams, Gary Fry, Michael Kelly, John Travis, and Conrad Williams
The Living Dead (Night Shade Books)
"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth!" From White Zombie to Dawn of the Dead, Resident Evil to World War Z, zombies have invaded popular culture, becoming the monsters that best express the fears and anxieties of the modern west. Gathering together the best zombie literature of the last three decades from many of today's most renowned authors of fantasy, speculative fiction, and horror, including Stephen King, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, George R. R. Martin, Clive Barker, Poppy Z. Brite, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Joe R. Lansdale, The Living Dead covers the broad spectrum of zombie fiction.
New in Non-Fiction
The Book of Lists: Horror Amy Wallace, Del Howison & Scott Bradley (Harper Collins)
The phenomenally popular Book of Lists series has sold millions of copies from coast to coast, enthralling trivia aficionados with fascinating infobits about simply everything! Now the latest edition turns an evil eye toward the strange, the blood-curdling, and the macabre with spine-tingling fun facts from the dark side of entertainment. Chock-full of creepy information from the netherworlds of movies, TV, literature, video games, comic books, and graphic novels, The Book of Lists: Horror offers a blood-feast of forbidden knowledge that horror fans are hungry to devour, including:
Stephen King's Ten Favorite Horror Novels or Short Stories—learn what scares the master!
Top Six Grossing Horror Movies of All Time in the United States— which big shocks translated into big bucks?
Top Ten Horror-Themed Rock 'n' Roll Songs—maybe it is ‘devil's music' after all!
And much, much more!
Star Trek 101 Terry J. Erdmann (Star Trek Books)
Simple, straightforward -- that's Star Trek.® So what's all the fuss? Why do news crews always seem to find someone, somewhere dressed up in a Star Trek costume? What could be so interesting to so many people?
Star Trek 101 is the answer. You'll learn just a little about the heroes (Captain Kirk believes that man wasn't meant to live in paradise), the villains (Klingons have a thirst for conquest), and the important aliens (Vulcans live their lives by logic). In the handy recaps for all things Star Trek, you'll discover that the television shows and movies run the gamut from action-adventure to comedy. Just want to sample? The ten essential episodes are offered for your consideration. Star Trek 101 is a quick primer of the television shows and movies that carry the Star Trek name.
Torchwood the Official Magazine Yearbook (Titan Books)
Torchwood is an action-packed, adrenaline-fuelled sci-fi TV series following the adventures of a team of investigators, working for the secret organisation Torchwood, who use scavenged alien technology to solve present day crime - both alien and human.
The team, led by the enigmatic, ever-watchful Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, reprising his Doctor Who role in this spin-off from the legendary series), are separate from the government, outside the police and beyond the United Nations. This full-color companion to the show contains behind the scenes secrets, cast and crew interviews and some exclusive new Torchwood short stories!
New In Graphic Novels/Trade Paperbacks
Green Arrow/Black Canary the Wedding Album (DC)
Green Arrow and Black Canary are ready to exchange vows — but can they make it down the aisle alive? This new hardcover collects the GA/BC Wedding Special and the first five issues of the happy couple's hot new series, and guest-stars the Justice League of America.
Green Lantern: Revenge of the Green Lanterns (DC)
In this hard-hitting volume, Green Lantern discovers that Lanterns who were left for dead are alive — and it's up to Hal to set them free. Collects Green Lantern #7-13.
JLA: Salvation Run (DC)
The hit 7-issue miniseries spinning out of Countdown to Final Crisis is collected in this new trade paperback. Exiled to a distant hell planet, the villains of the DCU split into two warring factions led by Lex Luthor and The Joker!
Superman: The Third Kryptonian (DC)
Who — or what — is The Third Kryptonian? Find out in this new trade paperback collecting Superman #668-670 and Action comics #847, plus the backup story from Superman Annual #13!
The creative team behind the new monthly series AIR brings together ancient and modern Middle East with a Vertigo twist. A stolen hookah, a spiritual underworld and a genie on the run change the lives of five strangers forever in this modern fable set on the streets of the Middle East's largest metropolis.
This magical-realism thriller interweaves the fates of a drug runner, a down-on-his-luck journalist, an American expatriate, a young activist and an Israeli soldier as they race through bustling present-day Cairo to find an artifact of unimaginable power, one protected by a dignified jinn and sought by a wrathful gangster-magician. But the vastness of Africa's legendary City of Victory extends into a spiritual realm – the Undernile – and even darker powers lurk there…
100 Bullets Vol. 12: Dirty (DC/Vertigo)
In this volume collecting issues #84-88 of the award-winning series, more members of The Trust fall, and one family head reaches out to a semi-retired Minuteman for help and protection. But with blood in the water and Graves and his soldiers making a final push for total control, will this old-timer be able to stop the massacre?
Red Rocket 7 (Image Comics)
This is the story of RED ROCKET SEVEN: The entire history of rock 'n' roll as seen through the eyes of the seventh clone of a man from a distant world. RR7 rubs shoulders with every legend from the birth of rock in the '50s, through the British invasion of the '60s, through the advent of Heavy Metal and Glam rock in the '70s, the New Wave of the '80s, the Grunge rock and Indie/alt. scene in the '90s, and into the new millennium! This special edition is busting out with special features, plus rare & new art.
Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 4 (Dark Horse)
Editing and charting Conan's course in the influential Savage Sword of Conan magazine, Roy Thomas led a phenomenal assemblage of talented illustrators boldly through the end of the seventies and into the eighties, unfettered by page counts and the limiting thumb of the Comics Code. Thomas scripted the continuing adventures of Conan, drawing from Robert E. Howard's original tales-along with other Conan adventures-and working with such esteemed artists as John Buscema, Sal Buscema, Ernie Colon, Klaus Janson, and the amazing Gil Kane! The Savage Sword of Conan brought the world thrilling adaptations of "Sons of the White Wolf," "The Legions of the Dead," and "The Treasure of Tranicos." The real treasure in this massive tome, however, is the sprawling, ambitious adaptation of the Conan the Buccaneer novel by the powerhouse team of Roy Thomas, John Buscema, and Tony DeZuniga! This volume is sure to deliver brutal barbarian violence as well as horrific, chilling surprises. This volume collects Savage Sword of Conan the Barbarian issues 37 to 48.
Star Wars Omnibus: Early Victories (Dark Horse)
Following the destruction of the first Death Star, Luke Skywalker is the new, unexpected hero of the Rebellion. But the galaxy hasn't been saved yet-Luke and Princess Leia are finding there are many more battles to be fought against the Empire and Darth Vader!
This latest Star Wars Omnibus reprints many of the early tales of the rebellion. First, we have Shadow Stalker, Tales from Mos Eisley, and River of Chaos, all of which are long out of print and have never before been collected! Then, Splinter of the Mind's Eye, a story created by George Lucas and Alan Dean Foster before there were plans for any films past Star Wars: A New Hope. And last is Vader's Quest, in which Vader learns the secret kept from him by Yoda and Obi-Wan: that he has a son!
The Bomb (Asylum Press)
This TP collects issues 1-4 of Steve Mannion's The Bomb mini-series . The book has been described as "Raiders of the Lost Ark" meets "Mad Magazine" with a dash of Stan Lee thrown in for good measure! Steve Mannion's signature brush style, colorful characters and witty gag-writing have already netted the artist a solid underground following as well as foreign and domestic licensing deals. This huge compilation features Fearless Dawn, Brownhole Jones and Jungle Chick and the Dinosaur. Beautifully rendered work. For fans of "The Goon", Wally Wood and classic E.C. horror, this book is a must. Features 16 page color section.
A Reader’s Guide to R.A. Salvatore’s The Legend of Drizzt (Wizard’s of the Coast) $24.95
Over the past twenty years R.A. Salvatore’s dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden has become one of the most popular and enduring characters in fantasy literature. The Dungeons & Dragons setting aside, Drizzt is really a throwback to swords & sorcery characters like Thongor, Kane, Kull, and even Conan. While the tone of Salvatore’s stories are certainly lighter and are populated by larger casts of supporting characters, Drizzt still hits on many of the same levels.
The hardcover guide provides a reference to Drizzt and his world. A detailed synopsis is provided for each of the thirteen novels published so that even if you are coming in as a new reader, you can quickly get up to speed. Next comes detailed bios of the major characters in the stories that also features notes on their various weapons such as Drizzt’s twin scimitars and Wulfgar’s battle hammer. The guide also takes a thorough look at the various drow and other denizens of the foreboding Underdark, and the peoples of Icewind Dale and beyond.
Wrapping things up are chapters on the diverse gods and other-worldly creatures of the Forgotten Realms and a section with maps of many of the towns and regions that play a part in the stories. The book is beautifully illustrated by a host of artists. A very nice production overall. Grade A.
The Book of Lists: Horror (Harper Collins) $14.95
We Americans are obsessed with lists. We have entire TV shows devoted to giving us lists of the greatest sports plays, sexiest celebrities, top songs, and more. We seem to love lists no matter who puts them out. For horror fans, Harper Collins has published a book filled with numerous and eclectic lists chosen by horror writers, directors, actors, and even fans, over 400 pages worth! The book is divided into fiver chapters on film & TV, literature, music, miscellaneous, and fan selections.
Fangoria editor Anthony Timpone lists the Top Ten films he wishes he never put on the magazine’s cover including box-office duds Maximum Overdrive and The Haunting, and the completely out of place Batman Returns (due to pressure from his publisher). Author Lisa Morton checks in with the Top Ten Asian Horror films; Mateo Molinari gives us the Top Ten Horror Movie Bloopers (along with the actual time into the film that you can see them); and Filmmaker Josh Olson provides the Ten Best Horror Movie Sex Scenes. Johnny Ramone’s top ten favorite horror movies? It’s in here…
No matter what your horror interest is, you’re certain to find something in here to pique your interest. It’s one of those great books you can just pick up and thumb through any section for a quick amusement. Grade A-