Out today – The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkein

5 05 2009

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkein is released today, May 5, 2009. See our review here.


Anathem – Neal Stephenson

2 05 2009


Sweeping, complex and challenging tour de force from the author of Snow Crash

What it’s about – from the cover
, the latest invention by the New York Times bestselling author of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle, is a magnificent creation: a work of great scope, intelligence, and imagination that ushers readers into a recognizable—yet strangely inverted—world.

Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside “saecular” world by ancient stone, honored traditions, and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent’s walls. Three times during history’s darkest epochs violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet the avout have always managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity even more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. And Erasmas has no fear of the outside—the Extramuros—for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.

Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fraas and suurs prepare to venture beyond the concent’s gates—at the same time opening them wide to welcome the curious “extras” in. During his first Apert as a fraa, Erasmas eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn’t seen since he was “collected.” But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the brink of cataclysmic change.

Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros—a threat that only an unsteady alliance of saecular and avout can oppose—as, one by one, Erasmas and his colleagues, teachers, and friends are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. Suddenly burdened with a staggering responsibility, Erasmas finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world—as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond.

What people think
San Francisco Chronicle – It’s almost impossible to not be impressed by Anathem; there’s simply too much erudition, wit, craft and risk-taking.

Boston Globe – A daring feat of speculative fiction. Anathem offers the reader a luscious arrangement of words, jokes, and speculations.

Slate, Best of 2008 List – The world Stephenson builds is richly visual, its complicated social politics are convincingly detailed, and its cool and conflicted heroes struggle with thrilling intellectual puzzles while they are tested in epic physical adventures.

Washington Post – Reading Anathem is a humbling experience.

London TimesAnathem is a brilliant, playful tour of the terrain where logic, mathematics, philosophy and quantum physics intersect, a novel of ideas par excellence, melding wordplay and mathematical theory with a gripping, human adventure.

The author
Neal Stephenson is the author of seven previous novels. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Hardcover – William Morrow – 960 pages – BUY Anathem

Wireless – Charles Stross

20 04 2009

WirelessCollection of imaginative shorts from award-winning author Charles Stross. Pre-order – out July 7, 2009

What it’s about – from the cover
The Hugo Award-winning author of such groundbreaking and innovative novels as Accelerando, Halting State, and Saturn’s Children delivers a rich selection of speculative fiction— including a novella original to this volume— brought together for the first time in one collection, showcasing the limitless imagination of one of the twenty-first century’s most daring visionaries.

What people think
Popular Science – A new kind of future requires a new breed of guide—someone like Stross.

New York Times – The act of creation seems to come easily to Charles Stross…[He] is peerless at dreaming up devices that could conceivably exist in six, 60 or 600 years’ time.

Gardner Dozois, Editor, Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine – Where Charles Stross goes today, the rest of science fiction will follow tomorrow.

SF Diplomat – One of the most flexible and intellectually powerful authors operating in modern SF.

The author
Charles Stross is a full-time writer who was born in Leeds, England in 1964. He studied in London and Bradford, gaining degrees in pharmacy and computer science, and has worked in a variety of jobs, including pharmacist, technical author, software engineer, and freelance journalist.

Hardcover – Ace Hardcover – 368 pages – BUY Wireless

AVID SciFi – The Week’s Reviews

19 04 2009

In case you missed ’em, here are this week’s reviews once more:

Genesis – Bernard Beckett

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun – J.R.R. Tolkein

This Is Not A Game – Walter Jon Williams

Without Warning – John Birmingham

The Affinity Bridge – George Mann

The Currents of Space – Isaac Asimov

The City & The City – China Miéville

House of Suns – Alastair Reynolds

House of Suns – Alastair Reynolds

18 04 2009


Hard SF thriller about the gradual assassination of a thousand reconnaissance clones spread across the galaxy. Pre-order – out June 2, 2009

What it’s about – from the cover
Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. She sent them out into the galaxy to observe and document the rise and fall of countless human empires. Since then, every two hundred thousand years, they gather to exchange news and memories of their travels.

Only this millennium there is no gathering. Someone is eliminating the Gentian line. And Campion and Purslane—two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared forbidden experiences— must determine exactly who, or what, their enemy is, before they are wiped out of existence.

What people are saying
The London Times – A thrilling, mind- boggling adventure.

BBC Focus – A crisper style that recalls hard SF from the ’60s and ’70s. This nod to the past seems fresh and new.

The author
Alastair Reynolds was born in Wales in 1966. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy. From 1991 until 2007, he lived in The Netherlands, where he was employed by The European Space Agency as an astrophysicist. He is now a full-time writer.

Hardcover – Ace Hardcover – 480 pages – BUY House of Suns

The City & The City – China Miéville

16 04 2009

City & CityComplex and compelling detective mystery set inside two strangely intertwined and competing cities – Pre-order – out May 26, 2009

What it’s about – from the cover
New York Times bestselling author China Miéville delivers his most accomplished novel yet, an existential thriller set in a city unlike any other–real or imagined.

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. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.

Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own. This is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a shift in perception, a seeing of the unseen. His destination is Beszel’s equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the rich and vibrant city of Ul Qoma. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, and struggling with his own transition, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of rabid 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 and those they care about 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.

Casting shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & the City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

What people are saying
Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress  – Daring and disturbing . . . Miéville illuminates fundamental and unsettling questions about culture, governance and the shadowy differences that keep us apart.

Brian Evenson, author of Last Days – Lots of books dabble in several genres but few manage to weld them together as seamlessly and as originally as The City and The City. In a tale set in a series of cities vertiginously layered in the same space, Miéville offers the detective novel re-envisioned through the prism of the fantastic. The result is a stunning piece of artistry that has both all the satisfactions of a good mystery and all the delight and wonder of the best fantasy.

The author
China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, Iron Council, winner of the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; winner of the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Looking for Jake, a collection of short stories; and Un Lun Dun, his New York Times bestselling book for younger readers. He lives and works in London.

Hardcover – Del Rey – 336 pages – BUY The City & The City

The Currents of Space – Isaac Asimov

16 04 2009

Currents of SpaceSciFi master recounts tale of planetary destruction which threatens to destabilize the galactic order

What it’s about – from the cover
High above the planet Florinia, the Squires of Sark live in unimaginable wealth and comfort.  Down in the eternal spring of the planet, however, the native Florinians labor ceaselessly to produce the precious kyrt that brings prosperity to their Sarkite masters.

Rebellion is unthinkable and impossible. Not only do the Florinians no longer have a concept of freedom, any disruption of the vital kyrt trade would cause other planets to rise in protest, ultimately destabilizing trade and resulting in a galactic war. So the Trantorian Empire, whose grand plan is to unite all humanity in peace, prosperity, and freedom, has stood aside and allowed the oppression to continue.

Living among the workers of Florinia, Rik is a man without a memory or a past.  He has been abducted and brainwashed. Barely able to speak or care for himself when he was found, Rik is widely regarded as a simpleton by the worker community where he lives.  But as his memories begin to return, Rik finds himself driven by a cryptic message he is determined to deliver:  Everyone on Florinia is doomed . . . the Currents of Space are bringing destruction. But if the planet is evacuated, the power of Sark will end–so some would finish the job and would kill the messenger. The fate of the Galaxy hangs in the balance.

What people think
The New York Times – Obviously, Isaac Asimov had a lot of fun concocting this merry tangle of interplanetary power politics. . . .  If it isn’t often science-fiction, it is always beautifully contrived melodrama. The reader will have just as much fun as Mr. Asimov.

The author
Isaac Asimov, author of the Foundation trilogy and many other novels, was one of the great SF writers of the 20th century.

Hardcover – Tor Books – 260 pages – BUY The Currents of Space