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Weekly Book Buzz: New Novel of the Nightside by Simon Green

We Review the Creepy Archives Volume 8

By Tim Janson     January 03, 2011


The Creepy Archives Volume 8
© Dark Horse

 

Surprisingly robust release week for the first week of 2011. Topping the list is Simon R. Green’s latest Nightside novel in hardcover, Barb Hendee’s new hardcover in her Noble Dead series, Michelle West’s new House Wars hardcover from DAW, and Orson Scott Card begins a new series with The Lost Gate from Tor, also in hardcover. First a few quick news bits…
 
Borders Struggles Continue
 
Borders Group, Inc. has announced it will have to delay payments to some vendors — including major publishers — while they try to refinance their debt. This follows a warning in December that the company might have a “liquidity shortfall” in early 2011. They will likely attempt to “restructure their payment arrangements” regarding money owed to publishers and other vendors. More bad news for a major retailer.
 
Random House E-Book Sales Soar!
 
At the opposite end of the spectrum from the trouble at Borders comes the news that Global e-book sales at Random House are up 250% from 2009, as announced by chief executive Markus Dohle. According to Dohle, e-books comprised nearly half of overall first-week sales in the US this fall for some lead titles. 
 
Harlan Ellison’s First Typewriter for Sale
 
Commenting in a recent Wall Street Journal article that “as time goes by you get more and more famous and less and less wealthy,” Harlan Ellison is looking to sell his first typewriter, a Remington model from around the late 1930’s with as asking price of $40,000. Ellison sited the reasons for selling the typewriter was to pay for his mounting medical bills. You can read the entire interview here: Harlan Ellison Interview
 
 
 
New In Fantasy
 
Soul Trapper: A Novel F. J. Lennon [Atria Hardcover]
 
Hollywood native Kane Pryce isn’t your average twenty-something dabbling musician. Yes, he’s an occasional substance abuser with a distrustful nature and self-destructive streak. And yes, most people might take him for a down-on-his-luck slacker. But to those in a very small circle, he’s also known as a ghost-hunting legend. Delving deep into the supernatural isn’t a lifestyle that Kane chose for himself, however; it was thrust upon him when his father vanished under mysterious circumstances. Unbeknownst to anyone besides Kane, his father left instructions to his son that led Kane to the Soul Trap, a powerful supernatural treasure that allows him to hunt down, capture, and send ghosts from the earthly realm to the afterlife.
 
For Kane, power over the supernatural has come with a price. Despite his attempts to do good with this power, his efforts often leave a path of destruction. So when his paranormal side-job attracts the attention of Eva Kells, a crack reporter intent on breaking his story, Kane is reluctant can he trust her?
 
Soon, though, risking his heart on a snooping journalist is the least of Kane’s worries. He receives a call from a terrified priest whose church is haunted by the soul of a deceased little boy. Kane takes on the case, but as he begins to learn the strange details surrounding the boy’s death, he realizes that there’s much more at stake than he ever could have imagined. And to complicate things even further, he falls hard for the boy’s mother. The only problem is, she’s been dead for almost fifty years . . .
 
The Soul Mirror: A Novel of the Collegia Magica Carol Berg [Roc TPB]
 
In a royal city beset by hauntings, plagues of birds, and strange sinkholes that swallow light and buildings, whispers of necromancy swirl about the queen's volatile sorcerer.
Scholarly, reclusive Anne de Vernase rejoices that she lacks magical talent. Her father's pursuit of illicit sorcery has left her beloved family in ruins and her future bleak. But a plague of murders compels Anne to unravel a dead sister's magical puzzle. With none to trust but a friend she cannot see, Anne must investigate matters beyond science - a centuries-old rivalry, the boundaries of death, and the most dangerous sorcerer in Sabria . . .
 
Secrets of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Book 3) Diana Rowland [DAW]
 
Homicide detective Kara Gillian has a special talent: she can sense the "arcane" in our world, and there's quite a bit of it, even in Beaulac, Louisiana. She's also a summoner of demons, and works on a task force that deals with supernatural crimes. Her partners are attractive and smart FBI agents, but they're not summoners, and they're not telling Kara why they are on this special force with her.
 
TO make things worse, Kara has pledged herself to one of the most powerful of demons-a Demon Lord-who helped save her partner's life, but now expects things in return. Meanwhile, she's trying to solve a string of murders that are somehow tied together by money, sex, rock music and...mud. But how can she concentrate on the case when she's not even sure who-or what-her partners are?
 
Of Truth and Beasts: A Novel of the Noble Dead Barb Hendee [Roc Hardcover]
 
In each of its novels, The Noble Dead Saga has swept readers into a world of "Tolkienesque fantasy [and] vampire-infused horror." Now, young Journeyor Wynn Hygeorht finds herself cast into the wilds on a dangerous quest for knowledge that may instead lead to her doom...
 
Mercy Blade (Jane Yellowrock, Book 3) Faith Hunter [Roc]
 
Jane, a shapeshifting vampire-hunter-for-hire, crosses paths with a stranger who has arrived in New Orleans, enlisted to hunt vampires who have gone insane-or so he says...
 
The Lost Gate (Mither Mages) Orson Scott Card Tor Hardcover]
 
Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an outself.
 
He grew up in the rambling old house, filled with dozens of cousins, and aunts and uncles, all ruled by his father. Their home was isolated in the mountains of western Virginia, far from town, far from schools, far from other people.
 
There are many secrets in the House, and many rules that Danny must follow.   There is a secret library with only a few dozen books, and none of them in English — but Danny and his cousins are expected to become fluent in the language of the books. While Danny’s cousins are free to create magic whenever they like, they must never do it where outsiders might see. Unfortunately, there are some secrets kept from Danny as well. And that will lead to disaster for the North family.
 
House Name: The House War: Book Three (House wars) Michelle West [DAW Hardcover]
 
The House War series centers on the most popular character in The Sun Sword series: a young woman named Jewel, who survives both the everyday perils of being an orphan in the slums of the city of Averalaan, and the demonic dangers of the Undercity, and who rises to become a key figure in House Terafin, the most important of the Ten Houses of the Essalieyan Empire. At the close of The Sun Sword series, the House War is about to begin. Now, at last, that story can be told.
 
A Hard Day's Knight (Nightside) Simon R. Green [Ace Hardcover]
 
John Taylor is a P.I. with a special talent for finding lost things in the dark and secret center of London known as the Nightside. He's also the reluctant owner of a very special-and dangerous-weapon. Excalibur, the legendary sword. To find out why he was chosen to wield it, John must consult the Last Defenders of Camelot, a group of knights who dwell in a place that some find more frightening than the Nightside. London Proper. It's been years since John's been back-and there are good reasons for that.
 
Demonstorm (Legends of the Raven 3) James Barclay [Pyr TPB]
 
THIS IS THE END ...The dragons have gone home, the elves are safe. The Raven have kept their promises. But fate has not finished with them. As the war between the colleges rages on an old enemy senses that his chance to revenge a bitter defeat has come. Tessaya, Lord of the Paleon Tribes has waited patiently for his moment and now, with Balaia in flames, he makes his move and unleashes the Wesmen hordes. In Xetesk, his forces scattered, Dystran, Lord of the Mount faces certain defeat by the Wesmen unless he unleashes the horrfying power of dimensional magics. And Dystran has not come this far to be beaten at the last by a rabble of ignorant tribesmen. And so the veil between dimensions is torn ...And beyond, a predatory evil stirs. Demons catch the scent of countless souls in Balaia. Can even the Raven prevail when the world is coming to an end? A fantasy milestone is reached. James Barclay brings his sensational saga of The Raven to a heartsopping conclusion.
 
The Book of Knights L.A. Williams [Sterling Publications Hardcover]
 
Similar in scope and vision to best-selling titles The Book of Angels and The Book of the Dragon, this sumptuously illustrated volume presents legends of that romantic, noble medieval warrior, the knight. In magnificent full-color spreads, author and award-winning illustrator L.A. Williams provides a brief background on the real life, training, and weaponry of the historical knight, before leading into thrilling tales of gallant and sometimes ruthless mythical knights from a range of traditions. The Book of Knights is an adventure with every turn of the page.
 
The Hammer K. J. Parker [Orbit]
 
Gignomai is the youngest brother in the current generation of met'Oc, a once-noble family exiled on an island for their role in a vaguely remembered civil war. On this island, a colony was founded seventy years ago. The plan was originally for the colonists to mine silver, but there turned out not to be any.
 
Now, an uneasy peace exists on the island, between the colonists and the met'Oc. The met'Oc are tolerated, in spite of occasional cattle stealing raids, since they alone possess the weapons considered necessary protection against the island's savages. Gignomai is about to discover exactly what it is expected of him, and what it means to defy his family. He is the hammer who will provide the spark that will ignite a brutal and bloody war.
 
New In Sci-Fi
 
Cobra Guardian: Cobra War: Book Two Timothy Zahn [Baen Hardcover]
 
When the colony worlds Adirondack and Silvern fell to the Troft forces almost without a struggle. Outnumbered and on the defensive, Earth made a desperate decision. It would attack the aliens not from space, but on the ground—with forces the Trofts did not even suspect. Thus were created the Cobras, a guerilla force whose weapons were surgically implanted, invisible to the unsuspecting eye, yet undeniably deadly. And the Moreau family were the most famous of the Cobra warriors. Long after victory over the Troft was achieved, the Cobras made common cause against their former adversaries against a new enemy. Their reward was three planets that would be a home for the Cobras, who deadly powers made them too dangerous to feel at home on Earth.
 
Now, years had passed and not everyone on the Cobra worlds thought that the Cobras were worth the cost of maintaining their existing built-in weaponry, let alone supporting research to improve the Cobra weapons, and possibly even put an end to the negative effects of that built-in weaponry, which caused Cobras to die much too young. Many who had never known interplanetary war were convinced that the Cobras were not needed at all. That was a grave miscalculation, because a Troft faction has decided to invade the Cobra planets in force, using a new strategy that even the formidable Cobra warriors may not be able to defeat . . .
 
The Agent Gambit (The Liaden Universe) Sharon Lee [Baen]
 
Two space adventure novels in the popular Liaden Universe® series in one popularly-priced Omni-trade edition:
 
Agent of Change: Once a brilliant First-in-Scout, Val Con yos’Phelium was “recruited” by the shadowy Liaden Department of Interior and brainwashed into an Agent of Change—a ruthless covert operative who kills without remorse. Val Con has been playing a deep game, far from the orderly life of clan and kin. Fleeing his latest mission, he saves the life of ex-mercenary Miri Robertson, a Terran on the run from interplanetary assassins. Thrown together by circumstances, Val Con and Miri struggle to elude their enemies and stay alive without killing each other-or surrendering to the unexpected passion that flares between them. Which name – or face – will the agent choose when the game gets tough and an escape for only one of them seems possible?
 
Carpe Diem: On the run from interplanetary assassins and a ruthless interstellar crime cartel, covert operative Val Con yos'Phelium and former mercenary sergeant Miri Robertson formed an alliance of necessity and wound up stranded on a planet with no rescue in sight. Their on-world problems were looking manageable after they assumed new identities as musicians, that is until a local war forced them to reveal their alien combat skills – and doubt their own growing partnership of trust and love. By then the relentless hound of an agent on Val Con's trail was closing in with the very weapon Val Con and Miri most feared, and the game got very rough indeed.
 
New in Horror
 
Children of the Dead: A Zombie Anthology Anthony Giangregorio [Living Dead Press]
 
Have you ever wondered what would happen to the children of our world after or during a zombie apocalypse? What would young toddlers do when their parents went out for supplies and never returned? Or if the only parental figure died and returned as one of the living dead, leaving the children to fend for themselves. Children adapt to anything, so would they accept the dead walking long before adults could wrap their heads around it? This anthology explores those questions. So, if you have children and were worried about their fate if the zombies got you, you might find the answers you seek within these pages.
 
Flip this Zombie Jesse Petersen (Orbit)
 
The Zombie Apocalypse has been good to Sarah and David. Their marriage is better than ever. They communicate well, share responsibilities, and now, they're starting a business. ZombieBusters-for all your zombie extermination needs.
 
There are lots of zombies and that means lots of customers...Except one of them doesn't want the zombies dead, he wants them alive and ready for experimentation. Mad scientists make for difficult clients and this time, Sarah and David might have bitten off more than they can chew.
 
An Agreement with Hell Dru Pagliassotti [Apex]
 
In the divine struggle between good and evil, humans are hardly noticeable to the mal'akhim, but when an ancient seal is broken on the grounds of a California college campus, beings from dimensions beyond the balance of holy and unholy erupt from the earth. A retired priest and an ailing magickian must trust the mysterious Walker Between the Worlds and his skin-eating demon familiar as they step through Heisenbergian passages of probability and battle forces that are so far beyond demon they cannot be fully seen in earthly dimensions. Amidst the earthquakes and interdimensional intruders, the students and staff of California Hills University step across the boundaries of their knowledge and faith, revealing their true natures as the night erupts in earth and blood.
 
Reviews
 
The Creepy Archives Volume 8 (Dark Horse Archive Edition)
 
The 8th volume reprinting the classic horror magazine collects issues 37 – 41, complete with the original Warren Publications covers. These issues are from 1970 – 1971 and feature the talents of old pros like Wally Wood, Basil Gogos, and George Roussos, as well as up-and-coming artists Dave Cockrum, Frank Brunner, and Tom Sutton. 
 
Frank Frazetta was long gone as a cover artist but Creepy certainly was not at a loss for talent. Issue 37’s Abominable Snowman cover was done by the great Ken Barr. The cover was based on the story “King Keller” by Syd Shores and Nicola Cuti about a group of American researchers exploring the Tibetan mountains and the deadly beasts they encounter.
 
Ken Kelly provides one of the series’ most memorable, non-Frazetta covers for #38 with an ax-wielding man, clearly driven insane. One of this issue’s best tales is “The Cosmic All” written and drawn by the late, great Wally Wood. This is a psychedelic sci-fi tale about space explorers who bring back an omniscient life form to Earth. 
 
Issue 39 is notable for one of the earliest stories by Frank Brunner who in a few years would become one of Marvel’s young superstars on books like Doctor Strange and Howard the Duck. His story, “Harvest of Horror” is one of the most gorgeous in the entire volume. One of the treats to these archive editions is not just seeing the stories and covers but the fact that the original letter columns and advertisements are also included, bringing a true sense of nostalgia to the collection. Grade A

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
Hobbs 1/6/2011 6:38:42 AM

Well Tim, I thought you were going to have a big announcement to post next week regarding George RR Martin but that's not going to happen now.  He had been saying he has a big announcement to make this weekend but his blog yesterday stated he was really sick and in the hospital the last two weeks during the holiday so the announcement isn't going to happen.

I thought for sure it was going to be his new book set to come out around the time the series starts on HBO.  Which would have made sense, I seem to remember it takes about 3-4 months to go to print once the author hands it in.  But alas, no announcement and depending on how he feels who knows when we will know anything.  I can give him a pass on getting ill but not on six years since his last one. 

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