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Weekly Book Buzz: Sci-Fi Hall of Fame Inductees
We Review Crysis: Legion
By Tim Janson
April 10, 2011
Author Harlan Ellison, winner of 8 Hugos, 3 Nebulas and a whopping 15 Locus Awards
The 2011 inductees to the Science Fiction Hall of Fame are Harlan Ellison, Vincent Di Fate, Moebius, and Gardner Dozois. The induction ceremony will be held Saturday June 25, 2011 at the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum in Seattle WA as part of the Science Fiction Awards Weekend, June 24-26, 2011, in conjunction with the Locus Awards.
NEW IN FANTASY
The Unremembered: Book One of The Vault of Heaven Peter Orullian [Tor Hardcover]
The gods, makers of worlds, seek to create balance—between matter and energy; and between mortals who strive toward the transcendent, and the natural perils they must tame or overcome. But one of the gods fashions a world filled with hellish creatures far too powerful to allow balance; he is condemned to live for eternity with his most hateful creations in that world’s distant Bourne, restrained by a magical veil kept vital by the power of song.
Millennia pass, awareness of the hidden danger fades to legend, and both song and veil weaken. And the most remote cities are laid waste by fell, nightmarish troops escaped from the Bourne. Some people dismiss the attacks as mere rumor. Instead of standing against the real threat, they persecute those with the knowledge, magic and power to fight these abominations, denying the inevitability of war and annihilation. And the evil from the Bourne swells….
The troubles of the world seem far from the Hollows where Tahn Junell struggles to remember his lost childhood and to understand words he feels compelled to utter each time he draws his bow. Trouble arrives when two strangers—an enigmatic man wearing the sigil of the feared Order of Sheason and a beautiful woman of the legendary Far—come, to take Tahn, his sister and his two best friends on a dangerous, secret journey. Tahn knows neither why nor where they will go. He knows only that terrible forces have been unleashed upon mankind and he has been called to stand up and face that which most daunts him—his own forgotten secrets and the darkness that would destroy him and his world.
Battle in the Dawn: The Complete Hok the Mighty Manly Wade Wellman [Paizo]
In the 1930s, a very unusual tale appeared in the influential Amazing Stories magazine. Unlike the usual yarns of robots and interstellar travel, this " Battle in the Dawn" featured the brutal exploits of Hok, the first hero of humanity, in his struggles against the savage Neanderthals. Written by rising pulpster Manly Wade Wellman (Who Fears the Devil?), who would later achieve fame for his American folktales of Silver John and beat out William Faulkner for a prestigious writing award, the story and its brave hero struck a chord with Amazing's readers, and several additional adventures followed, taking Hok through the prehistory of mankind to battle unrelenting cavemen, explore the lost city of Atlantis, discover new technology, and chart a new destiny for humanity. Now, for the first time ever, Planet Stories presents a complete authorized collection of all of Wellman's rare Hok the Mighty tales, packed with unfinished story fragments, all-new illustrations, and a brand-new introduction by Wellman's longtime friend, fantasy authorDavid Drake.
After the Golden AgeCarrie Vaughn [Tor Hardcover]
Can an accountant defeat a supervillain? Celia West, only daughter of the heroic leaders of the superpowered Olympiad, has spent the past few years estranged from her parents and their high-powered lifestyle. She’s had enough of masks and heroics, and wants only to live her own quiet life out from under the shadow of West Plaza and her rich and famous parents.
Then she is called into her boss’ office and told that as the city’s top forensic accountant, Celia is the best chance the prosecution has to catch notorious supervillain the Destructor for tax fraud. In the course of the trial, Celia’s troubled past comes to light and family secrets are revealed as the rift between Celia and her parents grows deeper. Cut off from friends and family, Celia must come to terms with the fact that she might just be Commerce City ’s only hope. This all-new and moving story of love, family, and sacrifice is an homage to Golden Age comics that no fan will want to miss.
The White Luck Warrior: The Aspect Emperor, Book 2 R. Scott Bakker [Overlook Hardcover]
As Anasûrimbor Kellhus and his Great Ordeal march ever farther into the wastes of the Ancient North, Esmenet finds herself at war with not only the Gods, but her own family as well. Achamian, meanwhile, leads his own ragtag expedition to the legendary ruins of Sauglish, and to a truth he can scarcely survive, let alone comprehend. Into this tumult walks the White-Luck Warrior, assassin and messiah both. The White Luck Warrior is a story filled with heartstopping action, devious treachery, grand passion, and meticulous detail. It is both a classic quest tale and a high fantasy war story.
NEW IN SCI-FI
The MenDlee Zann Corrie Kennedy [Tate Publishing]
With those bitter words, Melenta Cha'atre is viciously thrust into the world all alone. Her dream of leaving Lekton to live on the Terran world, Luna, and to attend the Institute seems utterly lost. As long as she could remember, she'd wished to study law and learn how to reform the Law of Tradition, their corrupt system of government. Under the Law, fathers make all decisions for their families. Abuse of power, cruelty, and injustice abounds because world leaders resist change, and fathers feel invincible. Her world is in dire need and Melenta will find a way to change itshe must! If her plan fails, legend says that a champion called The MenD'lee will one day be chosen from her people to lead Lekton to a new era of prosperity and enlightenment. Melenta longs to be that champion. But a tenacious and understanding stranger might ease past her walls of pain and heal her. But will The MenD'lee cooperate and grow up in time to save her world?
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 03 John Wagner [2000 AD Graphic Novel]
The story of future lawman Judge Dredd continues in this third book collecting together his adventures in chronological order. This bumper volume features many of Dredd’s most exciting cases including the first appearance of Judge Death and Psi Judge Anderson and the return of Satanus first featured in the epic Cursed Earth saga.
Hybrids Whitley Strieber [Tor Hardcover]
For years, people have feared that sexual material removed from victims of alien abductions might lead to the creation of something that modern science considers impossible: hybrids of the alien and the human. They would think like aliens, but appear human, and be able to do something that full-blooded aliens can't--walk the earth freely.
In Hybrids, Whitley Strieber unleashes his unparalleled skills as a thriller writer and his unique knowledge of the abduction phenomenon to explore, what might happen if hybrids invaded the earth--not from the stars, but from exactly where the aliens told him they would emerge, when one of them said, "We will come from within you."
All the Lives He Led: A Novel Frederik Pohl [Tor Hardcover]
Two thousand years after Pompeii ’s destruction, a thriller of upheaval—volcanic and political—as only SF Grandmaster Frederik Pohl can write it! With a keen eye for the humanity in any situation, science fiction icon Frederik Pohl has crafted a compelling new novel of a not-too-distant future we can only hope is merely science fiction.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. it gave so little warning that Pompeiians were caught unawares, and many bodies were preserved in volcanic ash. Two thousand years later, in 2079, Pompeii is a popular theme park eagerly anticipating Il Giubeleo, the Jubilee celebration of the great anniversary. But Vesuvius is still capable of erupting, and even more threatening are terrorists who want to use the occasion to draw attention to their cause by creating a huge disaster. As the fateful day draws near, people from all over the world—workers, tourists, terrorists—caught in the shadow of the volcano will grapple with upheaval both natural and political.
NEW IN HORROR
Undead Drive-Thru Rebecca Besser [Living Dead Press]
When Kyndra, Colleen, and Jose apply for jobs at a diner that has seen better days and is undergoing renovations, they have no idea what they're in for. Aunt-B and John have a horrible secret, and when it's unleashed on the unsuspecting employees of the diner, things get . . . complicated. Bloodthirsty and dangerous, a zombie awaits the opportunity to feast on them all. Who will be served first? Can any of them make it out of the Undead Drive-Thru alive?
Kings of the Dead (Revised and Expanded) Tony Faville [Permuted press]
When the H1N1 "Swine Flu" virus mutates it begins to not only kill those who have received the vaccination, but also bring on the unthinkable: the dead reanimate. Cole Helman and his friends are not only survival experts, they've spent hours discussing and preparing for just this event and quickly head to the hills before the cities become clogged with looting and riots. But the group knows all too well that the living dead are just the beginning of their problems, and they'll eventually have to deal with the worst qualities of the living-desperation, greed, selfishness, and cruelty-in this new post-apocalyptic world. And a chance encounter at a secret military installation may reveal a conspiracy bigger than any of them had imagined... Straight out of the apocalypse comes the chronicle of one small group and their experiences with life and death, survival and loss. In a world of the living dead, is one man capable of maintaining not only his community, but his own sanity?
In the Peanut Gallery with Mystery Science Theater 3000 Robert G. Weiner (McFarland Publishers)
I admit I never saw Mystery Science Theater 3000 during its initial run on TV. I had yet to rediscover my love for old horror and sci-fi films at the time so it was off my radar until I was able to see it through re-runs and now DVD. Now I knew this book would be good before even reading it because I know editor Rob Weiner. The guy is a walking, breathing encyclopedia of pop culture knowledge. Having read some of his earlier books from McFarland Publishers I was happy that he was here to lead me in the exploration of this fantastic cult TV show.
The book contains over two-dozen essays about MST3K as well as the films that were gleefully critiqued by Joel and then Mike and their robot sidekicks. The trio did what many of us do in the comfort of our homes when we see an especially bad film…we diss everything about it! The essays are broken down into 8 different categories including Directors, Specific Films, Fandom, Satire and Gender, and Technology and Episode Collecting. The essays are simply a blast to read although it definitely requires at least a working knowledge of the show. I especially enjoyed David Ray Carter’s, “Cinemasochism: Bad Movies and the People Who Love Them “ and Cynthia J. Miller’s “Remember: Only you can prevent Roger Corman”: The King of the Bs Under Siege.
What do we need to do to get this show back on the air, not only in re-runs and with new episodes? Well hey it might not happen but if you’re a fan of the series then run out and get this book today, you won’t be disappointed? Grade A
Crysis: Legion Peter Watts [Del Rey TPB]
Crysis: Legion is a new novelization based on the popular videogame, Crysis 2. Like the game, the plot of the book centers on a marine named Alcatraz who is the only surviving member of his unit, the rest killed during an alien invasion in Manhattan in the year 2023. Alcatraz is saved by a man named Prophet, a member of a Special Forces unit and possessor of a superpower battle armor called the Nanosuit. Prophet sacrifices himself to give the suit to Alcatraz as the suit bonds on a genetic level with its owner. Alcatraz is left not only battling the alien incursion but also the forces of CELL, a private security army.
In the game, Alcatraz basically has no personality and doesn’t speak leaving you with a somewhat hollow protagonist (even though the game is fun). Writer Peter Watts gives Alcatraz a voice in the novel and even though that voice likes to spout a lot of profanities, it’s nice at least to be able to view the story from his perspective. I think Watts did a good job of fleshing out the character and making him believable, or at least making him interesting. We get to know his thoughts about the whole story which is something you don’t get in the game.
The other positive, especially for fans of the game is that Watts’ story expands on the universe found within the game. It serves to help give the game more depth although It’s hard to say if you should read the book first or play the game first. Maybe a combination of book and game? At any rate Watts delivers a story that is filled with action and suspense although it can bog down in technical jargon occasionally. Grade B+