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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Haul of Books 2011: Stuff For Me v.01

Considering that I just got back from a conference in which books were involved, it seems like perfect timing to have a new edition of the Haul of Books.

So, without further delay, here is the image (after the fold):

And here are the descriptions, from left to right, top to bottom (taken from Amazon):

1.  The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia (signed -- see here)
Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets - secrets that can completely alter the balance of power in the city of Ayona. This doesn't sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart - literally.
2.  The City and the City by China Mieville (signed)
When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. To investigate, Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma. But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them more than their lives. What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.
3.  Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson (signed)
The Caribbean-colonized planet of Toussaint celebrates Carnival in traditional fashion, and Tan-Tan, a young reveler, is masked as the Midnight Robber, Trinidads answer to Robin Hood. But after her father commits a deadly crime, he flees with her to the brutal New Half Way Tree, a planet inhabited by violent human outcasts and monstrous creatures known only through folklore. Here, Tan-Tan is forced to reach into the heart of myth and become the legendary heroine herself, for only the Robber Queens powers can save Tan-Tan from such a savage world.
4.  I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita (signed)
Dazzling and ambitious, this hip, multi-voiced fusion of prose, playwriting, graphic art, and philosophy spins an epic tale of America’s struggle for civil rights as it played out in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Divided into ten novellas, one for each year, I Hotel begins in 1968, when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, students took to the streets, the Vietnam War raged, and cities burned.

As Karen Yamashita’s motley cast of students, laborers, artists, revolutionaries, and provocateurs make their way through the history of the day, they become caught in a riptide of politics and passion, clashing ideologies and personal turmoil. And by the time the survivors unite to save the International Hotel—epicenter of the Yellow Power Movement—their stories have come to define the very heart of the American experience.
5.  Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (signged)
Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none—not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory.

Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.

While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger—and more consuming—by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon—and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes . . .

A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination.
6.  Sha'Daa:  Tales of the Apocalypse edited by Edward F. McKeown (won)
"Sha'Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse is a wild mix of the Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and end of the world genres that is well worth the time of any Survial fiction fan." Eric S Brown, Author of Season of Rot and Cobble.

The Sha'Daa has its dark, eerie, terrifying roots anchored deep in the soil of fictional horror and mythic apocrypha. The end-of-days is a concept reinvented multiple times by each generation of writers with every new century, and our own 21st is no exception. We offer up this humble tribute to those who came before us.

A gruesome shout out is given for Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Bloch, H.P. Lovecraft, F. Paul Wilson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, Brian Lumley, Homer, Arthur Conan Doyle, and all the rest who have given us reason to fear the night.

Be warned. The Sha'Daa is coming.
7.  Sha'Daa:  Last Call edited by Edward F. McKeown (won)
I can't find a description.
8.  Air by Geoff Ryman (found at used bookstore in Riverside, CA)
Chung Mae is the fashion expert of the farming village of Kizuldah, Karzistan. As such, she represents the villagers' con-nection to the culture of the wider world beyond their fields. But Mae's role is about to change drastically. The Net, and unlimited information, has finally come to Kizuldah, and it's soon to be followed by Air, a new communication technology that will connect everyone, everywhere, without wires or computers. But the initial test of Air is a disaster; people are killed by the shock, and Mae ends up imprinted with the memories of a dying old woman. Realizing the changes the future will bring to Kizuldah, Mae struggles to lead her people to prepare themselves, while preserving the values that have always held the village together.
9.  Moxyland by Lauren Beukes (South African edition I found at the Eaton Conference)
What's really going on? Who's really in charge? You have NO. F***KING. IDEA.

A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. An art-school dropout, and AIDS baby, a tech-activist and an RPG-obsessed blogger live in a world where your online identity is at least as important as your physical one. Getting disconnected is a punishment worse than imprisonment, but someone's got to stand up to Government Inc. - whatever the cost. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia, satirically undermining the reified idea of progress as society's white knight.
10.  Timescape by Gregory Benford (signed)
1962: A young Californian scientist finds his experiments spoiled by mysterious interference. Gradually his suspicions lead him to a shattering truth: scientists from the end of the century are using subatomic particles to send a message into the past, in the hope that history can be changed and a world-threatening catastrophe averted.
Anything sound interesting to you?

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  1. Sha'Daa: Last Call is an antho that contains my piece "Reach in the Acid". The description's the same as the other one (it's just more stories in the same "universe"). You can find an excerpt of my story here: though it's a little different in tone from anything else in the book as eluded to here:

  2. Oh! So I might get to read one of your stories and then write a really mean review of it for kicks? :P

    Thanks for leaving a comment. I figured it would have a similar description, but you never know...

  3. I wrote the story right in the middle of the most severe burnout of my writing career (right after attending WotF and Clarion West three weeks apart).

    I was going for a real Lovecraftian effect with that one... experimenting with mood. I'm not sure if I succeeded as well as I'd hoped, but the reviews have been positive.

    If you want to review it, Mike would probably appreciate it (even if it's negative). For some reason, the book hasn't been getting much traction.