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Weekly Book Buzz: Finding The Mummy in Literature
Looking for a few gems in a slow release week
By Tim Janson
September 08, 2008
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor(2008)
Well one might say that this is a very light week for new releases. I’d say pathetic might be a better choice of words. Honestly it really is a very slow week. With few new releases in Sci-Fi, horror and fantasy, I’ve included more graphic novel coverage as well as a few notable non-fiction releases. You’ll also find some interesting titles in the capsule review section that I think you will really enjoy. As always, if you have any comments or questions, leave me a message in the comments section.
New In Science Fiction
Time’s Chariot Ben Jeapes (David Fickling Books)
THE HIMALAYAS, 5000 BC:
Commissioner Daiho is dead, but there’s no question of foul play. The murder of a Home Timer is about as likely as unauthorized interference with the work of a Correspondent. . . .
Isfahan, Arabia, 1029:
Abu Ali was startled. He hadn’t heard the stranger enter. The Correspondent was even more alarmed—his enhanced senses would have picked up the arrival of any normal human. Then the stranger spoke, and it was the language of the Home Time. Seconds later, Correspondent RC/1029’s world went dark. The Home Time, 2000 Years Later: Field Operative Rico Garron is about to have a very bad day.
The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking: Book One Patrick Ness (Candlewick Press)
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
New In Fantasy
Reader's Guide to the Legend of Drizzt Philip Athans (Wizards of the Coast Hardcover)
Celebrate Twenty Years of Drizzt!
Drizzt Do'Urden fought his way out of the monster-infested Underdark and carved a life for himself on the no less unforgiving surface world. The Legend of Drizzt follows the tale of a hero born to a race of evil, who struggles with his inner demons and the prejudices of others to become one of the greatest heroes the fantasy genre has ever known. This premier, hardcover, richly illustrated guide to The Legend of Drizzt(TM)celebrates twenty years of the most popular character in fantasy. This book will captivate new readers and established fans alike with its in-depth exploration of Drizzt and full-color illustrations by renowned artist Todd Lockwood. Don't miss out on the phenomenon!
The First Chronicle of Malus Darkblade Dan Abnett (Games Workshop Trade Paperback)
This omnibus edition collects the first three Darkblade novels The Daemon's Curse, Bloodstorm and Reaper of Souls, by Dan Abnett and Mike Lee. The dark elves are feared throughout the Old World for their evil, savage ways, yet one member of this despicable race stands out for his treachery and cunning – Malus Darkblade. Having been possessed by the ancient daemon Tz’arkan, dark elf Malus Darkblade is faced with a stark choice – recover five items of unimaginable power within one year or forfeit his soul for ever! This volume tells of Malus’s quest to find the first artefacts, pitting him against monsters, magic and even his own kin in three magnificent tales of dark fantasy.
New In Non-Fiction
You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story Richard Schickel (Running Press Hardcover)
From Rin Tin Tin to Casablanca to Harry Potter, the Warner Bros. story is the history of Hollywood. Eighty-five years of screen icons, legendary films, and history-making achievements are detailed in this comprehensive, photo-filled treasure trove, fully authorized by the studio.
No production company has had more legendary films, stars, or influence on the course of Hollywood than Warner Bros. Among the superstars who worked for the studio are Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Joan Crawford, Marlon Brando, James Dean, and John Wayne. Filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick made history for the studio, and it has been home to blockbuster franchises like Superman, Batman, Lethal Weapon, and Harry Potter.
Produced in conjunction with Warner Bros., this volume is the ultimate guide to the greatest movie studio in history. You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story is also the companion to a five part documentary in the PBS American Masters series by author Richard Schickel that will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the spring of 2008 and debut on PBS in the fall, to coincide with publication of the book.
The Paintings of J. Allen St. John: Grand Master of Fantasy J. David Spurlock (Vanguard Productions)
The Paintings of J. Allen St. John presents the artist’s full-color fantasy and science-fiction paintings for novels and pulp magazine stories by famous authors such as Edgar Rice Burroughs. Essays by today’s top science-fiction writers, including Jack Williamson, illustrator Vincent Di Fate, and historian Robert R. Barrett, make this book—Vanguard’s second devoted to the art of St. John—essential for any fantasy collection. More than 170 paintings of Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, more—many shot from original paintings.
From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books Arie Kaplan (Jewish Publication Society of America)
Jews created the first comic book, the first graphic novel, the first comic book convention, the first comic book specialty store, and they helped create the underground comics (or "Comix") movement of the late '60s and early '70s. Many of the creators of the most famous comic books, such as Superman, Spiderman, X-Men, and Batman, as well as the founders of MAD Magazine, were Jewish. From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books tells their stories and demonstrates how they brought a uniquely Jewish perspective to their work and to the comics industry as a whole.
Over-sized and in full color, From Krakow to Krypton is filled with sidebars, cartoon bubbles, comic book graphics, original design sketches, and photographs. It is a visually stunning and exhilarating history.
New in Graphic Novels/Comic Trade Paperbacks
One caveat I’d like to mention about graphic novel and trade releases…the best source of information is Diamond’s release schedule. Unfortunately, Diamond does not update the full week’s shipping list until after this column is published. Thus, while the major publishers such as Marve, DC, Image, and Dark Horse are noted in advance, the smaller publishers will generally be noted about a week behind.
Watchmen International Edition DC Comics
DC Comics presents a special, new edition of the WATCHMEN TP, featuring a brand-new cover by artist extraordinaire Dave Gibbons. The WATCHMEN INTERNATIONAL EDITION TP is created especially for the international market, and is also available in the U.S. and Canada.
One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial bestseller, WATCHMEN has only grown in stature since its original publication. Along with a new cover by Gibbons, this volume features the high-quality, recolored pages from WATCHMEN: THE ABSOLUTE EDITION, restored by WildStorm FX and original series colorist John Higgins.
Batman: The Black Glove DC Comics (Hardcover)
Writer Grant Morrison (ALL STAR SUPERMAN, FINAL CRISIS) brings Batman and a group of global heroes to a mysterious island to face a killer in this volume collecting BATMAN #667-669 and 672-675. Then, Batman relives a defining adventure in the life of young Bruce Wayne: the hunt for his parents' killer.
Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash Wildstorm Comics
The hit 6-issue miniseries pitting three titans of horrordom against one another is collected in its entirety! Co-published with Dynamite Entertainment.
The Eternals By Jack Kirby Book 2 Marvel Comics
A time of titans, terror and time travel — as only the King could conceive! Imagine a race of immortal beings possessed of seemingly limitless superhuman abilities including energy projection, strength and flight. Once worshipped as gods, this fantastic group left Earth to explore the stars after warring with the Greek, Roman and Norse pantheons for supremacy over mankind. In 1976, Jack Kirby introduced what was to be his final great Marvel Comics creation: the Eternals! With nearly four decades of experience creating iconic characters, Kirby stretched his imagination to the limit for his last tale. Looking beyond the familiar ground of super heroes, Kirby crafted a cosmic epic that took comic-book fans on a spectacular adventure every month. Since Kirby’s groundbreaking work, the Eternals and their malevolent counterparts, the Deviants have become vital parts of the Marvel Universe. Awarding-winning creators such as Neil Gaiman have revisited the concept, finding new levels of meaning in Kirby’s visionary work. Now, for the first time, Marvel proudly presents the entire ETERNALS series in two softcover volumes — further proof that Jack Kirby was truly the King. Collecting Eternals #12-19 and Annual 1.
Lords of Avalon: Sword of Darkness Marvel Comics
In a world where Camelot is ruled by Lord Kerrigan, the peasant Seren has become a pawn between the rulers of light and the rulers of darkness. But the talented seamstress faces a dilemma after Lord Kerrigan kidnaps her: Is Kerrigan truly the demon others portray him to be, or is he her savior in disguise? Jump into this new twist on Arthurian legend, adapted from bestselling author Kinley MacGregor. MacGregor, known for her historical romance novels, is the pen-name of Sherrilyn Kenyon, the bestselling and award-winning American author known for her supernatural romance and vampire novels. Collecting Lords of Avalon: Sword of Darkness #1-6.
Omega The Unknown Marvel Comics (Hardcover)
The story of a mute, reluctant super hero from another planet, and the earthly teenager with whom he shares a strange destiny — and the legion of robots and nanoviruses that have been sent from afar to hunt the two of them down. Created in 1975 by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, the original Omega the Unknown lasted only ten issues, but was a legend to those who recall it — an ahead-of-its-time tale of an anti-hero, inflected with brilliant ambiguity. One of Omega's teenage fans was award-winning novelist Jonathan Lethem, who has used the original as a springboard for a superbly strange, funny and moving graphic novel in ten chapters. Collecting Omega the Unknown #1-10.
The Enigma Cipher Boom Studios
Casey Williams and her fellow grad students have a rather interesting homework assignment: decrypt a recently discovered Nazi code left over from World War 2. But as they begin their work, those connected with it are found dead. Casey knows hat there's more to the "Enigma Cipher" than map coordinates from a sixty-year-old war, but in order to save her own life she'll have to crack the code!
The Foundation Boom Studios
History shows that in the 1500s, Nostradamus' three volumes of prophecies were best-sellers, making him a rich man. But what the world doesn't know is that he used his vast treasure-trove of riches to create a foundation to prevent his most catastrophic prophesies from occurring! This secret team still functions today, using Nostradamus' published and unpublished tomes to predict threats to worldwide security! In the vein of The X-Files, but with a 24-like spin!
Judge Anderson: Shamballa 2000AD
Judge Anderson and a team of scientists travel deep beneath the Himalayas to the mysterious city of Shamballa, there to search for a solution to the cataclysmic events that are threatening to tear the planet apart. This is just one of the exciting stories in this collection, gathering together the very best of the Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson strips!
Nikolai Dante: Sword of the Tsar 2000AD
Nikolai Dante has bonded with a cyborganic Weapons Crest, an alien combat computer, which allows him to extrude lethal bio-blades. Following the civil war, Dante is the most wanted man in the Empire. Now, he's battling for his life in Akita Sagawa's Pacifica stronghold against the lethal Dragon clones...
Modesty Blaise: Green Cobra Titan Books
The dark underworld of espionage and crime is lit up by the fatal charms of the gorgeous Modesty Blaise — high priestess of pulp crime and goddess of cult thrillers! Adventurer, spy, smuggler, racketeer and all-round bad girl, Modesty is as stylish as she is smart, as lethal and beautiful as a Japanese fighting sword! This latest volume features three classic hard-to-find stories: ‘Green Cobra’, ‘Eve & Adam’ & ‘Brethren of Blaise’ all wrapped up in a spectacular collector’s library edition! Featuring brand new story introductions by Modesty creator and bestselling author Peter O’Donnell, plus an exclusive feature with unseen and rare illustrations by artist John Burns, this latest addition to the Modesty Blaise library is not to be missed.
Graphic Classics: Amrose Bierce Graphic Classics
Satire and the Supernatural! Graphic Classics: Ambrose Bierce is revised, with 70 new pages, including new comics adaptations of “Moxon’s Master”, “The Damned Thing” and “The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter”. Returning from the first edition are “The Stranger” and three other tales, plus a collection of 20 short fables illustrated by Dan O’Neill, Shary Flenniken, Florence Cestac, Johnny Ryan and more great artists. With an amazing cover and new illustrations for “The Devil’s Dictionary” by Steven Cerio.
Modern Mythmakers Michael McCarty (McFarland Publishers)
McFarland publishers simply puts out some of the best books on genre films and TV and one of their latest is Modern Mythmakers. The book features 26 interviews with horror, science fiction, and fantasy writers, filmmakers, and personalities. Leading things off is an interview with the man who invented the term Sci-Fi, Forrest J Ackerman. Ackerman explains how he coined the phrase and reminisces about his days as editor of Famous Monsters of Filmland and talks about his well-known memorabilia collection.
Other notable interview subjects include horror writers Ramsey Campbell, Joe Lansdale, John Saul, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Brian Lumley; Sci-Fi writers Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven, Frederick Pohl, and Alan Dean Foster; Masters of Horror creator Mick Garris; and even famed horror host, Elvira. All of the interviews were conducted over the past five years and while they are not in-depth, they serve to let readers get to know these diverse personalities. This is particularly satisfying as these are no your usual interview subjects. Grade B
500 Essential Anime Movies: The Ultimate Guide Helen McCarthy (Harper Collins)
Normally when you see the words “essential”, “complete”, “ultimate”, or “indispensable” in the title of a book, it’s usually a sure indication that it is but…however in the case of this title, it may actually be true. I don’t consider myself an expert enough in Anime to select the 500 essential films but Helen McCarthy certainly qualifies. She started the first British Anime magazine Anime UK in 1991. She was the editor of Anime FX and wrote The Anime Encyclopedia. McCarthy’s 528 page book concentrates on stand-alone films or limited series for inclusion and is chaptered by genre: Sci-Fi, Robots & Mecha, Fantasy, Action and Adventure, Love and Death, History and Politics, Mystery and Horror, school and sports, and experimental.
McCarthy begins each chapter by listing those films she rates as four and five stars, then going on to list the rest of the films in alphabetical order. Each entry includes the film’s director, writer, animator(s), designer(s), distributor, producer, year of release and running time in the header. McCarthy then provides a detailed plot synopsis and analysis of the film. The book features well over a thousand full-color screen shots from the films. While the top-rated films certainly get the most coverage, McCarthy doesn’t skimp on even those she rates a single star although I suppose you might question how a one star film might be considered “essential”. For casual Anime fans, this is a wonderful guide and source of information. Grade B+
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Newmarket Press)
This is a Newmarket Press pictorial moviebook which takes movie fans through the entire production of the latest Mummy sequel. The film’s director, Rob Cohen provides the introduction. From pre-production through the completed project, you get a behind-the-scenes look at the film. Especially noted for its extravagant and detailed set pieces, you’ll see how The Great Wall was re-created and how the crew capture the look and feel of ancient China. Along the way you’ll be supplied with quick lesson’s on Chinese history including the fabled Terra-Cotta Warriors, over 8,000 statues, that were buried for over 2,200 years until their discovery in 1974. You’ll then journey to the remote Himalayas to visit the mysterious Shangri-La and see how the legendary Yeti were brought to life onscreen.
In all the book is 176 pages including hundreds of full-color photos and illustrations from the film. While The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor may not have done all that well in terms of the box office, you can’t help but marvel at the scope of the marvelous production and set design. The only complaint is that the book is in soft cover rather than hard cover. Grade A-