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Weekly Book Buzz: George R.R. Martin Unveils New Wildcards Novel
Borders UK to Close!
By Tim Janson
December 20, 2009
Suicide Kings, New Wildcards Novel
© Tor Books
First let me take a second to wish all the Mania visitors a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Because it is Christmas week, the release schedule is extremely light. We do have one huge release this week and that is the third of the new Wildcards triad series, “Suicide Kings”, edited by George R. R. Martin.
…In the new this week, more trouble for Borders. Borders UK will close all 45 of its Borders and Books Etc. Stores on December 22, unless a buyer can be found for the struggling chain. If the chain closes, some 1,100 workers will be out of a job on Christmas Eve. Nice way to celebrate the holidays. You’d think they could at least keep the stores operating until the end of the years so those people could at least enjoy their Christmas.
… Joe Haldeman was named the 2010 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master. The Grand Master award is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's highest accolade and recognizes excellence for a lifetime of contributions to the genres of science fiction and fantasy.
Hidden Empire Orson Scott Card (Tor Hardcover)
The war of words between right and left collapsed into a shooting war, and raged between the high-technology weapons on each side, devastating cities and overrunning the countryside.
At the close of Empire, political scientist and government adviser Averell Torrent had maneuvered himself into the presidency of the United States. And now that he has complete power at home, he plans to expand American imperial power around the world.
Opportunity comes quickly. There’s a deadly new plague in Africa, and it is devastating the countryside and cities. President Torrent declares American solidarity with the victims, but places all of Africa in quarantine until a vaccine is found or the disease burns itself out. And he sends Captain Bartholomew Coleman, Cole to his friends, to run the relief operations and protect the American scientists working on identifying the virus. If Cole and his team can avoid dying of the plague, or being cut down by the weapons of fearful African nations, they might do some good. Or they might be out of the way for good.
Suicide Kings (Wild Card Series) George R.R. Martin (Tor Hardcover)
In 1946, an alien virus that rewrites human DNA was accidentally unleashed in the skies over New York City. It killed ninety percent of those it infected. Nine percent survived to mutate into tragically deformed creatures. And one percent gained superpowers. The Wild Cards shared-universe series, created and edited since 1987 by New York Times #1 bestseller George R. R. Martin (“The American Tolkien”—Time magazine) along with Melinda Snodgrass, is the tale of the history of the world since then—and of the heroes among the one percent.
Ranging from New York and New England to ravaged Africa and New Orleans, encompassing war, devastation, and stubborn hope, Suicide Kings advances the story of the Wild Cards, and their struggle to be fully human in a world that fears and mistrusts them.
Flagship (Starship, Book 5) Mike Resnick (Pyr Hardcover)
The date is 1970 of the Galactic Era, almost three thousand years from now, and the Republic, created by the human race but not yet dominated by it, finds itself in an all-out war against the Teroni Federation, an alliance of races that resent Man's growing military and economic power. The rebel starship, the Theodore Roosevelt, under the command of Wilson Cole, is preparing to lead Cole's ragtag armada into the Republic, even though he is outnumbered thousands to one. Cole is convinced that the government has become an arrogant and unfeeling political entity and must be overthrown. The trick is to avoid armed conflict with the vast array of ships, numbering in the millions, in the Republic's Navy. For a time Cole's forces strike from cover and race off to safety, but he soon sees that is no way to conquer the mightiest political and military machine in the history of the galaxy. He realises that he must reach Deluros VIII, the headquarters world of the Republic (and of the race of Man), in order to have any effect on the government at all - but Deluros VIII is the best-protected world in the Republic. But a new threat looms on the horizon. Cole, the Valkyrie, David Copperfield, Sharon Blacksmith, Jacovic, and the rest of the crew of the Teddy R face their greatest challenge yet, and the outcome will determine the fate of the entire galaxy.
Star Trek Archives Volume 7: The Best of Klingons (IDW Graphic Novel)
In stories like "The Wormhole Connection," "The Only Good Klingon... ," "Errand of War," "Deadly Allies," "Maggie's World," and "Judgment Day," get a close look at the relationship between the Federation and Klingon Empire in this collection of six tales from the Star Trek Archives. These fierce, warring people present unique challenges to the Federation, and in these classic DC stories get a glimpse of what the future holds for Federation-Klingon relations.
Jaclyn the Ripper Karl Alexander (Forge Hardcover)
I’m not normally one for complex time-traveling adventures but there was something intriguing about this book that made me decide to read it. As a buff of Jack the Ripper lore it had that appeal not to mention being a play on The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. This story is a sequel to Time After Time, both the book and the 1979 film. In that story, Jack the Ripper used Wells’ time machine to escape to 1979 with Well in eventual pursuit. Well uses the machine to transport the killer far into the future. Wells returns to 1893 with Amy Robbins to live happily ever after…or so they thought…
In the sequel, Amy returns to the present to let her parents know that she is safe and living in the past but her trip accidentally frees Jack the Ripper from the future. Using the technology of the future, Jack transforms himself into a female, hence the name “Jaclyn” and travels back to 2010 to begin a new killing spree in Los Angeles, and vows revenge on Wells and Amy. Now in modern day, Wells must somehow track Jack down in a complicated new world of computers and cell phones.
Thirty years is a LONG time between stories and I’m not sure that Alexander is going to recapture the audience he had with that story that relied a great deal on the romantic relationship between Wells and Amy. The sequel is more of a thriller and largely succeeds although Jaclyn is somewhat less sinister than Jack. Grade B
Green Arrow and Black Canary: Enemies List (DC Comics TPB)
I confess to never being much of a Green Arrow fan. Frankly he’s always impressed me as a bit of a pain-in-the-ass blowhard. Thus, my expectations for the “Enemies List” story arc were not very high. Andrew Kreisberg pleasantly surprised me with this story however, delivering a tale that is a very modern look at the relationships between superheroes. In fact, the main protagonist of the film takes a backseat to Arrow and Canary trying to figure out where their path together is taking them.
Someone is killing off Green Arrow’s enemies and leaving the bodies behind as trophies, or perhaps even tributes. Death Dealer, Vengeance, and Brick are already dead and when the sadistic Merlyn escapes prison, Arrow is none too subtle in demanding information from Vertigo, bordering on torturing the villain. This does not go over well with Canary who is growing more and more concerned with Ollie’s methods which are straddling a fine line for a hero.
As it turns out, Ollie has his own psychotic secret admirer…Cupid is out to prove her love for him even if she has to kill everyone in her path, including Black Canary. One of the best scenes in the book is Ollie and Dinah go to see a marriage counselor…in their costumes, which only serves to drive the therapist to exasperation. Meanwhile, Kreisberg also explores Canary’s origins in flashback sequences where we see how her “Canary Cry” gravely injured a friend when it first manifested.
The only real knock I have on “Enemies List” is that it is continued beyond the end of the book. To me, this is a cardinal sin for a Trade paperback collection. You need wrap the story up on somewhat of a conclusive note, even if there are still plotlines dangling out there. Grade B+