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The Final Ballot for the 2009 Hugo Awards

New horror from Exorcist author William Peter Blatty

By Tim Janson     March 22, 2009

Elsewhere by William Peter Blatty(2009).
© Cemetery Dance


Ah spring is finally here! I don’t normally mind the cold weather and the snow but it was a particularly brutal winter here in the north. Michigan has some of the worst roads in the world and it left my car with a dented rim from a pothole and a cracked windshield from a rock! Thankfully I’ve had a lot of great books to sustain me over the winter. New this week is Elsewhere from Exorcist author William Peter Blatty. I recently reviewed this tense haunted house novel here at mania. You can read the review here: Elsewhere review
I’m also very excited about Midwinter a new Fantasy from Matthew Sturges. I should have a review on that one very soon.
In the News…
The final Ballot for the 2009 Hugo Awards has been announced and here are the nominees in the more prominent categories:
Best Novel
Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Morrow; Atlantic UK)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury UK)
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen; HarperVoyager UK)
Saturn's Children by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi (Tor)
Best Novella
"The Erdmann Nexus" by Nancy Kress (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2008)
"The Political Prisoner" by Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF Aug 2008)
"The Tear" by Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires)
"True Names" by Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2)
"Truth" by Robert Reed (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2008)
Best Novelette
"Alastair Baffle's Emporium of Wonders" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's Jan 2008)
"The Gambler" by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2)
"Pride and Prometheus" by John Kessel (F&SF Jan 2008)
"The Ray-Gun: A Love Story" by James Alan Gardner (Asimov's Feb 2008)
"Shoggoths in Bloom" by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov's Mar 2008)
Best Short Story
"26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss" by Kij Johnson (Asimov's Jul 2008)
"Article of Faith" by Mike Resnick (Baen's Universe Oct 2008)
"Evil Robot Monkey" by Mary Robinette Kowal (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two)
"Exhalation" by Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
"From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Feb 2008)
Best Professional Artist
Daniel Dos Santos
Bob Eggleton
Donato Giancola
John Picacio
Shaun Tan
…In other awards news, the finalists have been announced for this year's Arthur C. Clarke Award, for the best science fiction novel published in the UK in 2008. They are:
Song of Time, Ian R. MacLeod (PS Publishing)
The Quiet War, Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
House of Suns, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz)
Anathem, Neal Stephenson (Atlantic)
The Margarets, Sheri S. Tepper (Gollancz)
Martin Martin's on the Other Side, Mark Wernham (Jonathan Cape)
New in Fantasy
The Twilight Herald: Book Two of the Twilight Reign Tom Lloyd (Pyr)
Lord Bahl is dead and the young white-eye, Isak, stands in his place; less than a year after being plucked from obscurity and poverty the charismatic new Lord of the Farlan finds himself unprepared to deal with the attempt on his life that now spells war, and the possibility of rebellion waiting for him at home.  Now the eyes of the Land turn to the minor city of Scree , which could soon be obliterated as the new Lord of the Farlan flexes his powers. Scree is suffering under an unnatural summer drought and surrounded by volatile mercenary armies that may be its only salvation.
This is a strange sanctuary for a fugitive abbot to flee to--but he is only the first of many to be drawn there. Kings and princes, lords and monsters; all walk the sun-scorched streets. As elite soldiers clash after dark and actors perform cruel and subversive plays that work their way into the hearts of the audience, the city begins to tear itself apart--yet even chaos can be scripted. There is a malevolent will at work in Scree, one that has a lesson for the entire Land: nations can be manipulated, prophecies perverted and Gods denied. Nothing lies beyond the reach of a shadow, and no matter how great a man s power, there some things he cannot be protected from.
Midwinter Matthew Sturges (Pyr)
Winter only comes to the land once in a hundred years. But the snow covers ancient secrets: secrets that could topple a kingdom. Mauritaine was a war hero, a Captain in the Seelie Army. Then he was accused of treason and sentenced to life without parole at Crere Sulace, a dark and ancient prison in the mountains, far from the City Emerald. But now the Seelie Queen--Regina Titania herself--has offered him one last chance to redeem himself, an opportunity to regain his freedom and his honor. Unfortunately, it s a suicide mission, which is why only Mauritaine and the few prisoners he trusts enough to accompany him, would even dare attempt it. Raieve, beautiful and harsh, an emissary from a foreign land caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perrin Alt, Lord Silverdun, a nobleman imprisoned as a result of political intrigues so Byzantine that not even he understands them. Brian Satterly, a human physicist, apprehended searching for the human victims of the faery changeling trade.
Meanwhile, dark forces are at work at home and abroad. In the Seelie kingdom, the reluctant soldier Purane-Es burns with hatred for Mauritaine, and plots to steal from him the one thing that remains to him: his wife. Across the border, the black artist Hy Pezho courts the whim of Mab, offering a deadly weapon that could allow the Unseelie in their flying cities to crush Titania and her army once and for all. With time running out, Mauritaine and his companions must cross the deadly Contested Lands filled with dire magical fallout from wars past. They will confront mounted patrols, brigands, and a traitor in their midst. And before they reach their destination, as the Unseelie Armies led by Queen Mab approach the border, Mauritaine must decide between his own freedom and the fate of the very land that has forsaken him.
Duke Elric (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Vol. 4) Michael Moorcock (Del Rey)
Has there ever been a hero–or anti-hero–to match Elric of Melniboné, last emperor of an ancient civilization sunk into decadence and inhuman cruelty? Elric the albino, weary of life and enamored of death, bearer of the soul-devouring black sword Stormbringer, cursed to betray all he loves and to save that which he despises: In the unending battle between the forces of Law and Chaos, he is the wildest card of all.
Del Rey proudly presents the fourth in its definitive collection of stories featuring fantasy Grand Master Michael Moorcock’s greatest creation. Here is the full novel The Sailor on the Seas of Fate, the script of the DC comic Duke Elric, the new story “The Flaneur des Arcades de l’Opera,” essays by Moorcock and others, and a selection of classic artwork.
The Betrayal Pati Nagle (Del Rey)
The noble and magical aelven were riven by war when a rogue clan embraced a forbidden source of magic: the drinking of blood. In the bitter fighting that ensued, the vampiric Clan Darkshore were cast out of the aelven and driven across the Ebon Mountains . Stripped of their various clan colors, they were thenceforth known only as “alben,” hated and shunned. An uneasy peace now holds over the land, but it is whispered that Shalár, the beautiful and bloodthirsty queen of the alben, is readying a surprise attack to win back all that was lost–and none can say where or when she will strike.
The fate of the clans will depend on two young aelven lovers, Eliani and Turisan, who are blessed with a legendary gift: the fabled power of mindspeech. But this ability comes with great risks. Time is running out as the alben mount their attack–and their ultimate betrayal.
Human Nature: Pax Britannia Series Jonathan Green (Abaddon Books)
Around the world in eighty days in style! This proud claim, made by the Carcharodon Shipping Company, is about to be put to the test as its newest and most magnificent submersible cruise liner, the Neptune, sets sail on its maiden voyage around the world. Among the great and the good who have been invited to join this historic cruise is Ulysses Quicksilver, dandy adventurer and hero of Magna Britannia, enjoying a well-deserved sojourn after the traumatic events of Queen Victoria 's 160th jubilee celebration. But something is waiting in the depths. Something that threatens the Empire itself!
New In Science Fiction
Outcast (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Book 1) Aaron Allston (Del Rey)
After a violent civil war and the devastation wrought by the now-fallen Darth Caedus, the Galactic Alliance is in crisis–and in need. From all corners, politicians, power brokers, and military leaders converge on Coruscant for a crucial summit to restore order, negotiate differences, and determine the future of their unified worlds. But even more critical, and far more uncertain, is the future of the Jedi.
In a shocking move, Chief of State Natasi Daala orders the arrest of Luke Skywalker for failing to prevent Jacen Solo’s turn to the dark side and his subsequent reign of terror as a Sith Lord. But it’s only the first blow in an anti-Jedi backlash fueled by a hostile government and suspicious public. When Jedi Knight Valin Horn, scion of a politically influential family, suffers a mysterious psychotic break and becomes a dangerous fugitive, the Jedi become the target of a media-driven witch hunt. Facing conviction on the damning charges, Luke must strike a bargain with the calculating Daala: his freedom in exchange for his exile from Coruscant and from the Jedi Order.
Though forbidden to intervene in Jedi affairs, Luke is determined to keep history from being repeated. With his son, Ben, at his side, Luke sets out to unravel the shocking truth behind Jacen Solo’s corruption and downfall. But the secrets he uncovers among the enigmatic Force mystics of the distant world Dorin may bring his quest–and life as he knows it–to a sudden end. And all the while, another Jedi Knight, consumed by the same madness as Valin Horn, is headed for Coruscant on a fearsome mission that could doom the Jedi Order . . . and devastate the entire galaxy.
This Is Not a Game Walter Jon Williams (Orbit Hardcover)
THIS IS NOT A GAME is built around the world of Alternate Reality Gaming. Immersive and massively interactive, they are big, and getting bigger. To the player, the Alternate Reality Game has no boundaries. You can be standing in a parking lot, or a shopping center. A pay phone near you will ring, and on the other end will be someone demanding information.
You'd better have the information handy. ARGs combine video, text adventure, radio plays, audio, animation, improvisational theater, graphics, and story into an immersive experience.
New In Horror
Necronomicon  William Messner-Loebs (Boom! Studios graphic novel)
The history of the most infamous book known to man will finally unfurl! Student Ali Said, recruited by a mysterious group to find the famed Necronomicon, is caught between the warring forces that want the Necronomicon's power for their own - but Said knows that neither side intends to leave the world better off. In order to save mankind, Said will have to plumb the mysteries of the book itself - and pray that he can do so without going mad!
Fall of Cthulhu Vol. 4: Godwar Michael Alan Nelson (Boom! Studios Graphic Novel)
Volume 4 of the epic horror story based on the universe of H.P. Lovercraft pitts some of his most famous creations against each other. Mr. Arkham's plans are in motion and the followers of Cthulhu are poised to strike against the heretics of Nodens. But when their epic battle spills into the Dreamlands, Mr. Arkham's plans threaten to unravel. Will anyone survive the Godwar? Humanity hangs in the balance in this fourth volume of the critically acclaimed series!
Bloodletting Michael McBride (Dilirium Books)
The butchered remains of twelve year-old Jasmine Rivers are discovered in the cellar of an abandoned farmhouse on the desolate eastern plains of Colorado , the fourth mutilated body found in the last two months. The FBI is still searching for the missing parts of the previous three. Hundreds of miles away in Arizona , eleven corpses are exhumed from the Sonoran Desert . They've been mummified and bundled in the traditional Inca style. But the Inca lived in South America , and these bodies aren't centuries old. Seemingly unrelated victims that share a common cause of death: exsanguination. Special Agent Paxton Carver follows the trail of blood, which leads him to the continuation of genetic experimentation that began during World War II and a designer retrovirus capable of altering human chromosomes. Can he track down the virus and prevent further exposure before the real bloodletting begins?
Elsewhere William Peter Blatty (Cemetery Dance Hardcover)
An incredible haunted house novel from William Peter Blatty, the legendary author of The Exorcist! Disturbing, unsettling, chilling, and laced with a nasty streak of dark humor, Elsewhere is a must-have for all fans of dark fiction! Sure to become a time-honored classic in the genre!
New In Non-Fiction
South Park Guide to Life Trey Parker, Matt Stone (Running Press
Since the first episode aired on Comedy Central in 1997, South Park has proven to be one of the most socially relevant and downright hilarious television shows of all time. No series skewers pop culture and politics with more effective wit and wisdom than South Park —from dysfunctional family life to bad manners to the entire country of Canada , for the residents of this tiny town, no subject is sacred or taboo! A regular ratings monster and Emmy-winner, South Park is also an unlikely source of advice on all facets of life. Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny along with the rest of the town offer hilariously twisted insights and questionable counsel on topics such as teamwork, spirituality, and the opposite sex. South Park Guide to Life is a much anticipated collection of colorful illustrations and original lines from the show. Great for grads and fans alike!
Capsule Reviews
Crimson Gord Rollo (Leisure Horror)
In the 1950’s, the small town of Dunnville was shocked by an unspeakable crime. Jacob Harrison, a well-liked man butchered his entire family. Even more disgusting was the revelation that he had cannibalized their remains. Jacob hung himself in an upstairs room but when the police went to remove his body, all that was left was the noose and Harrison’s body was never found. Cut ahead some twenty years later and a single mom and her son have moved into the old Harrison home. Johnny soon makes friends with other local boys and when they are searching the Harrison farm to find a spot to build a clubhouse, they uncover an old stairway and an underground room. They release a frightening evil entity that haunts their nights and terrifies them during the day. Is this Jacob Harrison? Or something worse?
Crimson calls up comparisons to Stephen King’s “It”. Like that book, we have a slice of small town life thrown into chaos by pure evil. If anything, Rollo’s story is much more visceral than “It” and it’s opening prelude is disturbing to say the least. I love these kind of small town horrors because life there can be so claustrophobic that it adds to the terror. And then Rollo starts in with the leeches…I hate leeches, and Crimson is filled with them to the point of nausea. What is also effective about the story is the fact that you don’t know what the group of boys is dealing with. Is this really Old Man Harrison, somehow surviving being hung? Or is this the force which drove him to murder and devour his family. The fun is in the discovery! Grade A-
Watchman The Complete Motion Comics (warner Bros DVD)
Okay, okay, so technically this is a DVD and not a book. But if we can have audio books, why not graphic novels brought to life on DVD? That’s just what this is…The entire twelve-issue Watchmen comic book series brought to life with limited animation and voice work. We get to see artist Dave Gibbons’ surreal panel art given form and movement. The animation is much more than I expected. I expected something like the old Marvel Superheroes cartoons of the 1960s but here, Gibbons’ art is animated with fluid beauty. The DVD consists of twelve episodes, each running around a half-hour in length, one for each issue of the comic series.
In addition to animation we also get music and sound. The entire series is narrated by Tom Stechschulte who also does all of the character’s voices. This is the only thing I had an issue with…Would it have killed Warner Bros. to hire a woman to do all the female voices. It’s a bit disconcerting to hear a man try and do a female voice. It sounds like a bad prank phone call. I’ll give Stechschulte credit though, he did manage to infuse each character with their own unique identity with just his voice, from the monotone Dr. Manhattan, to the sinister Rorshach. This would be a great DVD for people who have only seen the film to watch so they get a better idea of the complexity of the plot. I hope to see more classic comic series done in this format. Grade B+


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