I'm pulling this idea from a couple of review blogs; Book Smugglers has there weekly On Our Radar column and Tynga Reviews has Stacking the Shelves post. I've linked their blogs in the names and I think both do a great job covering all that is great and worthy in both YA adult speculative fiction. I'm going to be mainly hitting books just out or soon to the hitting the shelves and this month is such a huge month of books it's kind of surprising.... Please note I'm hitting my highlights but there is a complete list at SF Signal
First a couple out as of last month
From British writer Gareth L. Powell comes Ack Ack Macaque which seems a crazy steampunk revision of World War Two but even if you read the prologue and the first chapter that you can find here giving it a read will probably tell you if your up for it... Seemed pretty cool to me; I love things that blend genres and this seems to be a mixture on frappe.
In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque.’ The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence.
A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins circle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul. Meanwhile, in Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon.
So sit back, peel a banana and enjoy.
The next book just hit the shelves this last week and is one of the ones I'll br reviewing next week, it is by a comic shop owner here in the USA and is a book that I quite loved hitting hat sweet spot between weird western, pulp horror and modern character complexity. The book is Six Gun Tarot...
Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.
A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.
R.S. Belcher’s The Six-Gun Tarot is “an astonishing blend of first-rate steampunk fantasy and Western adventure.” (Library Journal, Starred Review)
By the middle of the next week I'll be hitting this with a review but know that overall this audacious western horror has my endorsement....
For those fans of BBC period dramas like Downton Abby (I must admit to loving this soap opera personally) should give thas next volumes look. I for one can not want to get a look at this novel and based on Marie Brennan's past fiction I have high expectations...
You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.
Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.
Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.
I'm also a great fan of the American gothic weird that is the province of Canadian David Lynch, the storytelling traditions of the Twilight Zone and Outer Limits and HP Lovecraft and King. American Elsewhere tickles that fancy in so many levels with a great and original protagonist.....
Ex-cop Mona Bright has been living a hard couple of years on the road, but when her estranged father dies, she finds she's had a home all along: a little house her deceased mother once owned in Wink, New Mexico.
And though every map denies Wink exists, Mona finds they're wrong: not only is Wink real, it is the perfect American small town, somehow retaining all the Atomic Age optimism the rest of world has abandoned.
But the closer Mona gets to her mother's past, the more she understands that the people in Wink are very, very different - and what's more, Mona begins to recognize her own bond to this strange place, which feels more like home every day.
And last for this week I have to go to my favorite of all the smaller publishers today PYR; Lou Anders and his staff choose by and large my favorite books these days, the ones that give me the most thrills the most laughs and the most tears overall. This month sees an urban fantasy series set in the Elizabethan age get another installment.... The Swords of Albion series has been a favorite of mine since the Silver Skull that I reviewed a couple years back and this looks great...
James Bond adventure in the court of Queen Elizabeth!
1593: The dreaded alchemist, magician, and spy Dr. John Dee is missing. . . .
Terror sweeps through the court of Queen Elizabeth, for in Dee's possession is an obsidian mirror, an object of great power which, legend says, could set the world afire. And so the call goes out to celebrated swordsman, adventurer and rake Will Swyfte—find Dee and his looking glass and return them to London before disaster strikes. But when Will discovers the mirror might solve the mystery that has haunted him for years—the fate of his lost love, Jenny—the stakes become acutely personal.
With London under siege by supernatural powers, time is running out. Will is left with no choice but to pursue the alchemist to the devil-haunted lands of the New World—in the very shadow of the terrifying fortress home of the Unseelie Court. Surrounded by an army of unearthly fiends, with only his sword and a few brave friends at his back, the realm's greatest spy must be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice—or see all he loves destroyed.
And yes I know I said one but since this is another January book and a superhero steampunk adventure that's so genuinely a love letter to all those genres I have to add it.... Andrew Mayer is someone I personally know loves comics and the man can write....
Steampunk superheroes in Victorian-era New York!
The Society of Paragons is gone—destroyed from within by traitors and
enemies. With the death of The Industrialist and the rebirth of the Iron-Clad as a monstrous half-human creature known as "The Shell," Lord Eschaton now has almost everything he needs to cover the world in fortified smoke and rebuild it in his image—everything except for the mechanical heart of the Automaton.
The device is nearer than he knows. Just across the East River, hiding in a Brooklyn Junkyard, Sarah Stanton is trying to come to restore the mechanical man to life. But before she can
rebuild her friend, she must first discover the indomitable power of her own heart and save herself. Only thenwill she be able to forge a ragtag group of repentant villains, damaged Paragons, and love-mad geniuses into the team of heroes known as "The Society of Steam."
So that is your first Wanted wall in this genre lovers virtual sherif office..... Till next week look for the things you love and read....