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03-01-03: New Fantasy by Chris Wooding, SF by Jeff Vandermeer

New Fantasy by Chris Wooding

A gorgeous cover for yet another fantasy series.


Chris Wooding is the author THE HAUNTING OF ALAIZABEL CRAY and POISON, both written for kids. This is his first shot at a fantasy trilogy. I'll be looking at this as soon as possible. I get a good vibe from what my friends over at Victor Gollancz tell me.

New SF by Jeff Vandermeer

Jeff Vandermeer explores the far future in his wonderfully weird style in the latest release from Prime Books.

Wht more could you ask than that Jeff Vandermeer author a novel set on a far future earth? You could ask that it be published by Prime, who put out Tim Lebbon's 'The Nature of Balance' and Vandermeer's 'City of Saints and Madmen'. My fingers are itching to turn these pages.

02-27-03: Italo Svevo Translated by William Weaver

Italo Svevo Translated by William Weaver

A new translation of this hilarious and insightful novel from Vintage Books.

Of all the books that I read in college, one of the best, the most memorable, the most hilarious and the most re-readable was 'The Confessions of Zeno' by Italo Svevo. Svevo was an Italian who, in the 1920's self published two novels. Svevo's real name was Ettore Schmidt. He was businessman who specialized in submarine paint. As a businessman, he needed to travel to England, and wanted lessons in English. He hired a down-and-out student in Trieste, a writer himself, named James Joyce. Joyce shared parts of what was to become 'Dubliners' with Svevo, and in turn read Svevo's first novel, 'As a Man Grows Older'. There was some dispute about Svevo's Italian dialect, and his novels never went too far until 'The Confessions of Zeno' was published in English. This novel is an hilarious look at a neurotic, worrying mid-level businessman's life, and it speaks so directly, so securely and with such perfection about the myriad phobias, manias and neuroses of modern living that it still seems as if it could have been published yesterday. It's now available in a translation by William Weaver, who is noted for his translations of Umberto Eco's novels. Here's a literary novel that you can read and laugh out loud at. This translation came out in 2001, but I just heard about it via the inimitable Ziesing catalogue.

The UCI writing program college copy that I still retain. The underlines come in handy.

"Life does resemble sickness a bit, as it proceeds by crises and lyses, and has daily improvements and setbacks. Unlike other sicknesses, life is always fatal. It doesn't tolerate therapies." [Italo Svevo, 'Zeno's Conscience' Page 435, translated by William Weaver.]

02-26-03: Laurie King Interview Live and her Latest Novel, Felaheen Arrives, Back Cover copy from 'Absolution Gap'

Laurie King's Latest

Even the cover of Laurie King's latest novel is dark, to say nothing of the contents.

For those with sound card capability, I'll be talking to Laurie King live this Friday, February 28, 2003 at 10 AM from the KUSP webcast URL and broadcast for the central coast of California at 88.9 on the FM dial. (Assuming you have a dial, which few of us these days do.) I'm reading and really enjoying her latest novel, 'Keeping Watch'. Not only is the cover darker than her usual stuff, the story is much darker. She veers effectively into Andrew Vacchs territory in a story about a man who help children escape from abusive situations. I'll have a review up, uh, tomorrow. The interview will be downloadable by Monday, one hopes. One of the benefits of working on 'Fine Print' is that I get to work with authors I might not otherwise have read. It's the thrill of discovery, and in King's case, it's indeed thrilling.

Felaheen Arrives

My review copy of 'Felaheen' came yesterdy, and I can hardly wait to read it.

Earthlight Books sent me the latest Ashraf Bey novel, 'Felaheen: The Third Arabesque'. This means that you'll be getting a review a lot sooner than expected. Grimwood has eked out a very unusual and entertaining niche for himself. What he's writing is like nothing else out there, in itself a recommendation. If you don't know what I'm on about, I highly recommend you look at 'Pashazade: The First Arabesque' and 'Effendi: The Second Arabesque'. Once you've done with those, you'll be waiting for this third novel as well.

Back Cover copy from Absolution Gap
Alastair Reynolds kindly sent me the copy from the back cover of his forthcoming novel, 'Absolution Gap'. Those who wish to remain entirely ignorant until they open the book need look no further, but this is the DJ copy, so you shouldn't be too spoiled -- other than by slack-jawed slavering anticipation! Still, I've put it below, so no words should be too easily able to enter your eye sockets without permission.

Here's that big picture of the front cover.....

...and here is the copy from the back cover, which may not be the exact final copy.


Humanity has endured centuries of horrific plague and a particularly brutal interstellar war: you might think it's time for a few decades of peace and quiet.

No such luck: for now there is a new threat, one that could mean extinction for the entire species. Stirred from aeons of sleep, the Inhibitors - ancient alien killing machines - have begun the process of ridding the galaxy of its latest 'emergent' intelligence.

Fleeing the first wave of machines, a ragtag group of refugees headed by the war veteran Clavain waits anxiously for the next phase of the cull. But with Clavain sunk deep in despondency, the actual leadership falls to Scorpio, the product of a flawed experiment in genetic engineering. Though Scorpio has every reason to hate humanity, he believes he has put his grudges - along with his criminal past - behind him.

Then an unexpected new element enters the colony: an avenging angel, a girl born in ice, gifted with both the power to lead humanity to safety and the ability to draw down mankind's darkest enemy. Unwilling to resist her charismatic leadership - for now - Scorpio watches as his people are led toward Hela, an apparently insignificant moon light-years away.

On Hela - where vast travelling cathedrals circle the world in endless procession - the witnessing of a miraculous event has given birth to an apocalyptic new religion.

As the cathedrals crawl toward the treacherous fissure known as Absolution Gap, a dark and unsettling truth becomes apparent: to beat one enemy, it may be necessary to forge an alliance with something much, much worse . . .

ABSOLUTION GAP concludes the story of the Inhibitors told in REVELATION SPACE and REDEMPTION ARK.