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Weekly Book Buzz: Borders to Close 200 Waldenbook Stores
The Latest Hack/Slash Collection from Devil’s Due
By Tim Janson
November 09, 2009
In the News…
…A further sign of the depressing time for booksellers, Borders Group has announced that they will close 200 Waldenbooks stores in January, cutting 1,500 jobs. The company plans to focus on more profitable superstores, and will leave only about 130 mall-based stores open. This is on top of 112 stores that were closed during the 2008 fiscal year. In short, the mall book stores that many of us grew up with are fast becoming extinct.
…Some sad news to report this week…British fantasy author Louise Cooper, 57, died October 21, 2009 of a brain aneurysm at her home in Cornwall. Cooper was a prolific author who wrote over 80 books for adults and children. She was best known for her Time Master trilogy, and for her Indigo Saga series. She is survived by her husband, artist Cas Sandall.
…The 2009 World Fantasy Award winners were announced at the World Fantasy Convention held October 29 - November 1, 2009, in San José, California. Highlight winners include:
Best Novel – Tie between The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford and Tender Morsels By Margo Lanagan.
Best Anthology - Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy (Senses Five Press)
Best Artist – Shaun Tan
Lifetime Achievement winners – Ellen Asher and Jane Yolen
A light this week as we head into the heart of the holiday shopping season but there are some excellent releases to note…
First, Devil’s Due is out with their latest Hack/Slash Collection, Volume 6. Hack/Slash is simply one of the very best horror comics around today. It has a strong grasp of horror traditions to go along with a wry sense of humor. Plus, Cassie Hack is one of the sexiest heroes in comics today.
Also out is the latest Deadworld collection entitled Deadworld: Slaughterhouse. Deadworld is the godfather of zombie comics getting its start over twenty years ago at long defunct Arrow Comics. Arrow may be gone but its greatest creation continues on!
New in Fantasy
The House of the Stag Kage Baker (Tor Trade)
Before the Riders came to their remote valley the Yendri led a tranquil pastoral life. When the Riders conquered and enslaved them, only a few escaped to the forests. Rebellion wasn’t the Yendri way; they hid or passively resisted, taking consolation in the prophecies of their spiritual leader. Only one possessed the necessary rage to fight back: Gard the foundling, half-demon, who began a one-man guerrilla war against the Riders. His struggle ended in the loss of the family he loved, and condemnation from his own people. Exiled, he was taken as a slave by powerful mages.
Bitter and wiser, he finds more subtle ways to earn his freedom. This is the story of his rise to power, his vengeance, his unlikely redemption, and his maturation into a loving father—as well as a lord and commander of demon armies. Kage Baker, author of the popular and witty fantasy, The Anvil of the World, returns to that magical world for another story of adventure, love, and a fair bit of ironic humor.
An Evil Guest Gene Wolfe (Tor Trade)
Lovecraft meetsBlade Runner in a stand-alone supernatural horror novel. Gene Wolfe can write in whatever genre he wants—and always with superb style and profound depth. Now following his World Fantasy Award winner, Soldier of Sidon, and his stunning Pirate Freedom, Wolfe turns to the tradition of H. P. Lovecraft and the weird science tale of supernatural horror.
Set a hundred years in the future, An Evil Guest is the story of an actress who becomes the lover of both a mysterious private detective and an even more mysterious and powerful rich man, a man who has been to the human colony on an alien planet and learned strange things there. Her loyalties are divided—perhaps she loves them both. The detective helps her to release her inner beauty and become a star overnight. The rich man is the angel of a play she stars in. But something is very wrong. Money can be an evil guest, but there are other evils. As Lovecraft said, “That is not dead which can eternal lie.”
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2009 Edition (Prime Books)
The first volume of The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy features over a quarter million words of fiction by some of the genre's greatest authors, including Peter S. Beagle, Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Ian McDonald, Sarah Monette, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Robert Reed, Patrick Rothfuss, and many more, as selected by Rich Horton, a well-known and well-received contributor to many of the field's most respected magazines.
New In Sci-Fi
Wings of Creation (The Silver Ship) Brenda Cooper (Tor Hardcover)
Joseph has succeeded in rescuing his sister, Chelo, from a pitched battle on the colony planet Fremont. Now he and Chelo and the love of his life, Alicia, and all of their extended family, are finally returning home. Halfway there, a probe intercepts them, sending them new coordinates and a message from Joseph’s enigmatic supporter and teacher, Marcus. War is brewing.
Joseph is wanted for escaping to save Chelo. To stay safe, Joseph must bring his family and friends to the renowned planet of Lopali, where men and women can fly, and peace and freedom abound. Or do they? Alicia has always wanted to fly, but the modifications that give humans wings kill as often as they work. Joseph must learn to actually change humans, to free the fliers of a tyranny that has enslaved them, since their species was born. If he can do this, the fliers have agreed to help him stop the war. But it’s not as easy as it seems.
Jaclyn the Ripper Karl Alexander (Forge Hardcover)
In Time After Time, H.G. Wells used his time machine to chase after Jack the Ripper who was on a killing spree in 1979 San Francisco. After H.G. met Amy Catherine Robbins, the love of his life, and banished the serial killer to the indefinite future, H.G. and Amy returned to 1893 London, believing they could live happily ever after.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. In Jaclyn the Ripper, Amy returns to the present to tell her parents what happened to their missing daughter, accidentally freeing Jack from his prison in the far future while also transforming Jack into a woman. Jaclyn the Ripper sets out on a new killing spree in 2010 Los Angeles, vowing revenge on H.G. and Amy.
H.G. follows Amy to modern L.A., but neither he nor Amy knows Jaclyn is on their trail. In the brave new world of the new millennium, H.G. must navigate a world of cell phones, the internet, and identity theft and find his wayward wife . . . before the Ripper slays her. With the panache, excitement, and thrills that made Time After Time so popular, Karl Alexander has penned another winning tale of Wells: author, inventor, and unlikely hero.
The Authorized Ender Companion Orson Scott Card (Tor Hardcover)
The Authorized Ender Companion is a complete and in-depth encyclopedia of all the persons, places, things and events in Orson Scott Card’s Ender Universe. Written by Jake Black under the editorial supervision of Card himself, The Authorized Ender Companion will be an invaluable resource for readers of the series.
If you ever wondered where Ender went after he left Earth, before he arrived at Lusitania, you’ll find the answer here. If you ever wondered how the battle room worked, you’ll find the answer here. If you forgot the names of the people were who discovered the descolada, the answer is here. The history of Gloriously Bright’s world? Here.
The Authorized Ender Companion contains all that and more. There are character biographies, time-lines, colony histories, and family trees.
Freakangels Volume 3 Warren Ellis (Avatar press Graphic Novel)
Twenty-three years ago, twelve strange children were born in England at exactly the same moment. Six year later, the world ended. Today, eleven strange 23-year-olds are living in and defending Whitechapel, maybe the last real settlement in flooded London. They've made a new friend, and together they successfully defended their home from raiders - but the post-apocalyptic drowned London that the eleven Freakangels survive in is never a safe place, and never surrounded by friends. In Freakangels Volume 3, the Freakangels begin to address how to build their community while a serial killer stalks in their midst. Everything almost comes crashing down around them as one of their own breaks their most valued rule.
Daze of Hate, Knights of Suffering (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Vol. 4) (Dark Horse Graphic Novel
Zayne Carrick joins forces with the same Masters who murdered his fellow Padawan in a desperate attempt to save the galaxy from the Mandalorians! Arkanian Lord Adasca holds the Republic and the Mandalorians hostage, offering a weapon of unrivaled power to the highest bidder, but not even Zayne and his former Master Lucien Draay can stop Adasca from unleashing unthinkable devastation in pursuit of profit. Then, back on Taris, Zayne finds himself allied with Master Raana Tey in a mission against the marauding Mandalorians - but Tey may be more interested in destroying Zayne than she is in saving the planet!
New in Horror
John Constantine Hellblazer: Scab (Vertigo Graphic Novel)
The first HELLBLAZER collection from writer Peter Milligan! What's the bizarre link behind a horrifying skin condition affecting Constantine, his new girlfriend and a bloody union strike from twelve years ago? Find out in this title collecting HELLBLAZER #251-255 and a story from #250.
Hack/Slash Volume 6: In Revenge and In Love (Devil’s Due Graphic Novel)
Hot off of the Hack family reunion, Cassie and Vlad are stopped in their tracks as Cassie is blamed and arrested for the murders committed by the very slashers she has sworn to eliminate. And, things get worse as they cross paths with everyone's favorite 8-year-old dream-reaper, Ashely! All this, as well as a much un-requested encore by the worst slasher this side of Nef, Six Sixx!
Deadworld: Slaughterhouse Gary Reed (Desperado Graphic Novel)
Many humans find themselves trapped in a world of the walking dead and the living who will do anything to survive. The promise of "Safe Haven" reveals a much darker and sinister purpose, when victims find themselves in a medical facility, a "Slaughterhouse," which will stop at nothing to combat the zombie plague, including using humans as guinea pigs. Survivors find that the greatest horror may not be the zombies - but their own kind!
How to Make Friends with Demons Graham Joyce (Nightshade Books)
William Heaney is a man well acquainted with demons. Not his broken family - his wife has left him for a celebrity chef, his snobbish teenaged son despises him, and his daughter's new boyfriend resembles Nosferatu - nor his drinking problem, nor his unfulfilling government job, but real demons. For demons are real, and William has identified one thousand five hundred and sixty-seven smoky figures, dwelling on the shadowy fringes of human life, influencing our decisions with their sweet and poisoned voices. After a series of seemingly unconnected personal encounters - with a beautiful and captivating woman met in the company of an infuriating poet, a troubled and damaged veteran of Desert Storm with demons of his own, and an old school acquaintance with whom he shared a mystical occult ritual - William Heaney's life is thrown into a direction he does not fully comprehend. Past and present collide. Long-dormant choices and forgotten deceptions surface. Secrets threaten to become exposed. To weather the changes, William Heaney must learn one thing: how to make friends with demons.
Servant of a Dark God John Brown (Tor Hardcover)
This is the debut novel from John Brown, the first of an epic new fantasy trilogy that is ambitious and sprawling. Brown stats off using what seems to be traditional fantasy plot elements of a simple boy, this time named Talen, seeking out his destiny, but Brown puts subtle twists on everything he touches making it unique. The world of Talen is governed by The Divines, a group of powers whose power is absolute and rigid. A rebellious group known as The Order is seeking to usurp the magical power of the Divines and give it over to the people of the lands. Talen and his clan are caught up in this uprising.
Brown’s system of magic is extremely detailed and intricate. Magic is derived from one of three sources: Fire, Soul and Body. In order to increase their strength, magic users can draw Fire from others either forcibly which is deemed highly illegal. In addition, Brown also excels at world building, and dare I say, his skill is rather “Jordan-like”. He paints a picture that is vast yet colorful in scope.
The Story is sometimes overly complex. Too many characters tell the story from their point of view, leading to some confusion and also failing to really pinpoint one character as the single, sympathetic protagonist. That said, Brown has produced a remarkable debut novel which tackles many sociological ideas that are often untouched in fantasy. Grade B+
House of Secrets Volume 2 (DC Comics Omnibus Edition)
This latest volume in the Showcase Presents series collects issues #99 – 119 of the legendary DC Comics horror anthology series. For many young and up-and-coming artists of the 1960s and 70s, anthology titles like House of Secrets and sister title House of Mystery, is where many of these talents got their start and gained experience. It also was where many old-timers got work who were no longer doing the frontline comic titles. And yet, the quality of the work in these stories often far surpasses many of the main titles published during the era. These artists did not have to stick to the “DC Formula” that many of the artists working on superhero titles did. Thus we get stories with much more artistic flair and creativity.
Most of the covers included in this volume were done by greats such as Berni Wrightson and Wm Michael Kaluta. House of Secrets adheres largely to the old EC Comics outline of stories that featured a bizarre or ironic twist at the end. Great stories like “The Witch Doctor’s Cloak”, “A Watchtower in the Dark”, and “Ghosts Don’t Bother Me, But…” highlight the book. The artists include the likes of Rudy Nebres, Alfredo Alcala, Arthur Suydam, Alex Nino, Flor Dery, and Nestor Redondo. Adding a dose of humor to the horror is cartoonist Sergio Aragones with his one-page cartoons throughout the volume. This is awesome, legendary work from one of the best horror anthologies ever. Grade A