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And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

[ Edited ]

One thing I have learned during my time as moderator of this forum is that the majority of you don't read new SF releases! The most successful feature threads have been fantasy releases (last month's Lamentation, for example) so with that in mind, I've focused more on fantasy and classic SF for the next few months.  

 

MAY ’09 FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION

1. A Canticle for Leibowitz 

One topic that always seems to attract visitors to this forum is apocalyptic fiction – and arguably the most profoundly moving post-apocalyptic fiction novel ever published is Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s 1960 Hugo Award winning SF classic A Canticle for Leibowitz. If I had to list my top three all-time favorite SF reads, I honestly can't think of a book that I'd put in front of this one. 

 

Almost a half century after it was first published, A Canticle for Leibowitz hasn't lost any of its megaton punch: If anything, Miller's words relating to humankind's propensity for self-destruction have taken on a kind of eerie aura of prophecy: "Is the species congenitally insane, Brother?� Are we doomed to do it again and again and again? Have we no choice but to play the Phoenix in an unending sequence of rise and fall?� Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing?"

 

If you only ever read one SF novel, please let it be this one. 

  

2. Night of Knives 

 

We've got quite a few fans here of Steven Erikson's shelf-bending Malazan Book of the Fallen fantasy series (Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates, etc.) Well, here's a treat. Ian C. Esselmont is the co-creator of Erikson's Malazan Empire and this is his debut fantasy novel, a "Novel of the Malazan Empire" which is a prequel of sorts to Erikson's saga. Night of Knives is described as a "momentous chapter in the unfolding story of the extraordinarily imagined world of Malaz."

 

Bottom line: This is a must-read for fans of the Malazan Book of the Fallen.  

 

 

 

3. In the Courts of the Sun 

This release – the first in a projected trilogy – is one of the few "2012" end-of-the-world novels to get glowing reviews so far. Publishers Weekly says that "fans of the late Michael Crichton will welcome this engrossing SF thriller."

 

I've read a little of this already and it seems comparable to The Da Vinci Code in tone and pacing so if  edge-of-your-seat SF thrillers are your cup of tea, drink up!

 





JUNE ’09 FANTASY/SCIENCE FICTION

1. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun 


This one is a no-brainer for me. I loved the previous "unearthed, unpublished classic" from Tolkien's son Christopher, The Children of Hurin, and I'm looking forward to checking this out release, which is described as "Tolkien’s extensive retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales of Sigurd the Völsung and The Fall of the Niflungs. It includes an introduction by J.R.R. Tolkien, drawn from one of his own lectures on Norse literature, with commentary and notes on the poems by Christopher Tolkien."

 

Good or bad, this will be one of the bestselling SF/fantasy releases of the year.  

 

  

2. The Human Disguise 

Okay, I know you don't read new SF releases but I read this one a few months back and it was really impressive. Here's my short teaser/description: "Set on a near-future Earth devastated by war and disease, this page-turner of a novel is an appealing amalgam of genre elements: it’s simultaneously apocalyptic science fiction and hard-nosed police procedural with thematic dashes of alien invasion and vampire mythos thrown in for good measure."

 

O'Neal's vision of a future Florida is both richly described and deeply considered. This is a thriller with some real meat on its bones – as entertaining as it is thought-provoking. I loved this book. 

 

3. The Pisstown Chaos 

Here's my sleeper pick – a true "cult classic" from David Ohle that is part political allegory and part sci-fi dystopia. Connected to Ohle's previous novels, Motorman (1972) and The Age of Sinatra (2004), his newest is described on the Soft Skull Press website as "the story of a family's dislocation in the midst of chaos, disease and forced-relocation. Political power seems to be in the hands of one Reverend Herman Hooker, an "American Divine," who revels in the sufferings of others as he spouts platitudes to the ever-on-the-move masses. People are "shifted" by decree every five years, or sooner. It's all randomly done and no attempt is made to make harmonious pairings; often a five year old girl ends up in the clutches of a dirty old man. There are up shifts, down shifts and side shifts. One day you might be shining shoes in Bum Bay, the next on a pleasure cruise on your new partner's yacht. Or the opposite. In a side shift, the person is sent to a "waiting camp" to await the next round of shifting with absolutely nothing to do to occupy the time. Willywhack is the soporific of choice among those so shifted. As chaos rages on and parasitic infestations spread, the Reverend rules with an iron fist from his Templex headquarters, utterly without mercy."

 

This seemed like an interesting – and obvious – book to feature after Miller's classic A Canticle for Leibowitz and after hearing about David Ohle for years and never reading anything by him, this is officially my (and your) chance to officially experience this man's twisted genius.

 

Paul 

Message Edited by paulgoatallen on 04-11-2009 08:23 PM
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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

Looks great Paul!! I'm looking forward to Canticle for Leibowitz , The Ledgend of Singurd and Grudrun and  The Pistown Chaos, Hopefully. I have yet to get my copy of One Second After in the mail so I'm still behind from this month lol. Hopefully I have enough time and money lol!!

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


carmen22 wrote:

Looks great Paul!! I'm looking forward to Canticle for Leibowitz , The Ledgend of Singurd and Grudrun and  The Pistown Chaos, Hopefully. I have yet to get my copy of One Second After in the mail so I'm still behind from this month lol. Hopefully I have enough time and money lol!!


I'm on for Canticle for Leibowitz!

 

Is the Legend of Sigurd and Grudrun coming out on CD? Knowing Tolkien this probably is one book that deserves to be heard. But I will pull out my CDs of Wagner's "Siegfried" and "Gotterdammerung" and compare stories -- along with some glorious music!

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


Nadine wrote:

carmen22 wrote:

Looks great Paul!! I'm looking forward to Canticle for Leibowitz , The Ledgend of Singurd and Grudrun and  The Pistown Chaos, Hopefully. I have yet to get my copy of One Second After in the mail so I'm still behind from this month lol. Hopefully I have enough time and money lol!!


I'm on for Canticle for Leibowitz!

 

Is the Legend of Sigurd and Grudrun coming out on CD? Knowing Tolkien this probably is one book that deserves to be heard. But I will pull out my CDs of Wagner's "Siegfried" and "Gotterdammerung" and compare stories -- along with some glorious music!


Cool Nadine can't wait!! I'll make sure thats the first one I get so I won't be behind like this month lol.   

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

I'm onboard for A Canticle For Leibowitz and In The Courts Of The Sun.  Don't know about June yet depends on what the library gets.  Also it depends on how much homework I have since I'm going back to school starting in May.

 

Toni

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


Nadine wrote:

I'm on for Canticle for Leibowitz!

 

Is the Legend of Sigurd and Grudrun coming out on CD? Knowing Tolkien this probably is one book that deserves to be heard. But I will pull out my CDs of Wagner's "Siegfried" and "Gotterdammerung" and compare stories -- along with some glorious music!


Nadine:

This feature was inspired in large part by your comment that you've never read A Canticle for Leibowitz before.  I know you're one of those readers that examines every word, every nuance, every symbol, and after the Lamentation discussion, I just had to feature this title. And honestly, we talk about apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic SF all the time – having this title under our collective belts will make future discussions more comprehensive. As far as "big books" and "genre classics" go, this one is truly a monolithic, quite possibly life-changing work of literature. It definitely changed the way I looked at the world...

Paul 

 

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

I am looking forward to A Canticle for Leibowitz.  I have heard a lot of good things and after the discussion on Lamentation I really look forward to this one.

 

Night of Knives, do you have to read the previous books to get into this one?  I havn't read those and this one sounds like I may like it.

 

Okay, I am probably going to send a few over the edge with this one, please hold on...

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, now I never read the Tolkien books I have only been able to see the movies and I do know that the movie doesn't always do the book justice, but how does this fall in around those books or does it not?  It to does look like it should be added to my list TBR.

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


Melhay wrote:

I am looking forward to A Canticle for Leibowitz.  I have heard a lot of good things and after the discussion on Lamentation I really look forward to this one.

 

Night of Knives, do you have to read the previous books to get into this one?  I havn't read those and this one sounds like I may like it.

 

Okay, I am probably going to send a few over the edge with this one, please hold on...

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, now I never read the Tolkien books I have only been able to see the movies and I do know that the movie doesn't always do the book justice, but how does this fall in around those books or does it not?  It to does look like it should be added to my list TBR.


Mel:

To answer your questions, no I don't think you have to have read Erikson's novels to read Night of Knives since it's a prequel of sorts, and the new Tolkien has nothing to do with Middle-earth as far as I know. It's being sold as a retelling of a Nordic myth so I'm guessing this will have no hobbits!  :smileywink:

Paul 

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


paulgoatallen wrote:


Mel:

To answer your questions, no I don't think you have to have read Erikson's novels to read Night of Knives since it's a prequel of sorts, and the new Tolkien has nothing to do with Middle-earth as far as I know. It's being sold as a retelling of a Nordic myth so I'm guessing this will have no hobbits!  :smileywink:

Paul 


Thanx Paul,

 

I am sorry to hear no hobbits, but glad to hear it at the same time.  I will then add to the list to pick it up.

 

Thanx

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


carmen22 wrote:

Looks great Paul!! I'm looking forward to Canticle for Leibowitz , The Ledgend of Singurd and Grudrun and  The Pistown Chaos, Hopefully. I have yet to get my copy of One Second After in the mail so I'm still behind from this month lol. Hopefully I have enough time and money lol!!


 

You still have not received you copy yet?!?!?!?  WOW, you have been waiting for that for a long time now.  I am so sorry.  Would you like to borrow mine?  I feel so bad you have not received it yet.  With what Paul has posted on how it is climbing the charts though I can kind of believe it.

 

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


Melhay wrote:

You still have not received you copy yet?!?!?!?  WOW, you have been waiting for that for a long time now.  I am so sorry.  Would you like to borrow mine?  I feel so bad you have not received it yet.  With what Paul has posted on how it is climbing the charts though I can kind of believe it.

 


I know I have it's been like over 2 weeks, I think. I got an email the other day saying they shipped it on the 5th but I still haven't gotten it yet. So maybe monday, we will see!

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

[ Edited ]

I hate to stiffle any enthusiasm here, but no one seems to have seen Legend of Sigurd and Grudrun yet. I don't know if this is the right book for this group. It is probably more like the "Lay of the Children of Hurin" rather than the narrative story of The Children of Hurin more recently released. You will find "The Lay of the Children of Hurin" in The Lays of Beleriand in The History of Middle Earth. Not that easy reading for modern or less scolarly inclined folks.

 

Let me give you an example of the beginning of "The Lay of the Children of Hurin".

 

-----------

Lo! the golden dragon   of the God of Hell,

the gloom of the woods   of the world now gone,

the woes of men,    and weeping of Elves

fading faintly   down forest pathways

is now to tell,   and the name most tearful

of Niniel the sorrowful,   and the name most sad

of Thaion's son Turin   o'erthrown by fate.

--------

 

At least "The Lays of the Children of Hurin" was based on Tolkien's fantasy mythology. I would wait until some reviews came out on this or at least until someone knows what it is about. Here is something I found on it but it is speculative:

 

 

-------------------------------------

Tolkien scholars suppose that the book contains the two narrative poems described in a note to Tolkien’s letters, published in 1981, as follows: “A long unpublished poem entitled ‘Volsungakviða En Nyja’, probably written in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Tolkien described it, in a letter to Auden dated 29 January 1968, as ‘written in fornyrðislag 8-line stanzas in English: an attempt to organize the Edda material dealing with Sigurd and Gunnar.” ‘Volsungakviða En Nyja’ translates into English as ‘The New Lay of the Völsungs.’ As stated in the J. R. R. Tolkien Companion and Guide puiblished in 2006, it contains 339 eight-line stanzas. The same source states that there is also a companion poem entitled ‘Guðrúnarkviða en nýja’ (’The New Lay of Gudrun’), which has 166 stanzas. The new book will presumably contain both. Further details will be revealed closer to publication.

-------------------------------------------

 

Don't forget that Tolkien was a Philologist and this is before he got to The Hobbit. During this period Tolkien was writing mainly academic works. This particular subject has nothing to do with SF or Fantasy (which sometimes draws on Norse mythology) but with Norse mythology itself.

 

The Legend of Sigurd

 

The Legend of Gudrun

 

This most likely was either taken from or similar to this work by Tolkien:

 

Songs for the Philologists, Icelandic Material 

 

Here is another reference to the new book but I think you will get an idea of where it is coming from.

 

Paul, you may want to rethink this choice and wait until there is more out about this book.

 

Message Edited by Nadine on 04-12-2009 11:01 PM
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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

[ Edited ]

Nadine wrote:

Paul, you may want to rethink this choice and wait until there is more out about this book.


Nadine:

You are definitely correct on all counts – but even if much of it is written as an "epic poem," as a huge fan of Middle-earth and Tolkien himself, I'm still really interested in reading this. I'm particularly interested in reading Christopher Tolkien's comments, which I hope will reveal insights and/or connections between J.R.R.'s fascination with Norse mythology and narrative elements and themes in LOTR. Also, Norse-powered fantasy has always been relatively popular – remember January's feature, Bones of the Dragon? – so I'm curious from a fantasy perspective of common threads I'll find in this "unearthed" Tolkien work.

 

But you are right to be a little wary – this has nothing to do with Middle-earth so readers looking for hobbits, elves, wizards, etc. should look elsewhere for their literary escapism. That said, if you're a LOTR and are fascinated by this release, check it out – I'm really looking forward to it!~

Paul 

Message Edited by paulgoatallen on 04-13-2009 11:01 AM
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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

[ Edited ]

paulgoatallen wrote:

...

 

3. In the Courts of the Sun 

This release – the first in a projected trilogy – is one of the few "2012" end-of-the-world novels to get glowing reviews so far. Publishers Weekly says that "fans of the late Michael Crichton will welcome this engrossing SF thriller."

 

I've read a little of this already and it seems comparable to The Da Vinci Code in tone and pacing so if  edge-of-your-seat SF thrillers are your cup of tea, drink up!

 



...

Paul 

Message Edited by paulgoatallen on 04-11-2009 08:23 PM

I was looking into the above book and have seen some reviews on it.  It kind of looks interesting.  I may have to take a closer look at it.

 

I have found on a website for Brian D'Amato the first 3 chapters for us to read.

http://www.briandamato.com/ITCOTS/ITCOTS_thumbnails.html 

 

Maybe this will help some people, or maybe not.

Message Edited by Melhay on 04-14-2009 10:56 AM
Message Edited by Melhay on 04-14-2009 10:58 AM
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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


Melhay wrote:

I was looking into the above book and have seen some reviews on it.  It kind of looks interesting.  I may have to take a closer look at it.

 

I have found on a website for Brian D'Amato the first 3 chapters for us to read.

http://www.briandamato.com/ITCOTS/ITCOTS_thumbnails.html 

 

Maybe this will help some people, or maybe not.



Mel:

Yes, it does have potential! After I decided to make it a feature, however,I realized that the price was an eye-popping $28.95. Wow. Is it just me or is this unusual to you? I can't remember a regular hardcover novel being over 25 bucks...

Paul 

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

I just ordered my copy of A Canticle for Leibowitz  today so I'm game for that discussion!!!
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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


paulgoatallen wrote:

Melhay wrote:

I was looking into the above book and have seen some reviews on it.  It kind of looks interesting.  I may have to take a closer look at it.

 

I have found on a website for Brian D'Amato the first 3 chapters for us to read.

http://www.briandamato.com/ITCOTS/ITCOTS_thumbnails.html 

 

Maybe this will help some people, or maybe not.



Mel:

Yes, it does have potential! After I decided to make it a feature, however,I realized that the price was an eye-popping $28.95. Wow. Is it just me or is this unusual to you? I can't remember a regular hardcover novel being over 25 bucks...

Paul 


 

I does seem to be curious.  If I get to get to the book I will use my coupons and discounts to purchase it.
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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

Arggh!! I just started the Steve Erikson's Malazan series! I'll never get cuaght up in time to join in. Did someone say "Night of Knives" was a prequel type book?

 

 

Brad

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)


Bradinator1 wrote:

Arggh!! I just started the Steve Erikson's Malazan series! I'll never get cuaght up in time to join in. Did someone say "Night of Knives" was a prequel type book?

 

 

Brad


Brad:

Yeah, that was me. I'm behind on the Malazan Book of the Fallen too but this book intrigued me for a number of reasons – #1. It could be a wonderful vehicle to get fantasy fans interested in the series if they haven't yet already sampled it, and #2. As someone who has read most of the Malazan novels, what a cool "companion" piece!

Paul 

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Re: And Now For Something Completely Different... (Preview of May/June Features)

Do you notice that this thread's BOTM are heavily leaning towards men?  All on this list are. 
Dude, Where's my book!