Waiting on: Firefight

One of the first books I read in 2014 was Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart, which was a lot of fun and oomph,  so it’s nice to know the sequel Firefight will be out in early January 2015.  I could make a January tradition out of it, right?

I haven’t read anything else by Sanderson yet, except the short Legion,  but I’m pretty sure I’ll be entertained if or when I ever pick up Mistborn or the Stormlight Archives.

Anyway, Firefight blurb:

They told David it was impossible – that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart – invincible, immortal, unconquerable – is dead. And he died by David’s hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realise he has questions. Big ones. And there’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic – Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

(Right, I’d forgotten about it being called Newcago. The only appropriate response to Newcago is to stop eyerolling and step over into the it’s disgustadorable!-camp.  Or maybe it’s just me.)

Waiting on: The doubt factory

Paolo Bacigalupi is a name I’ll never dare to try to pronounce out loud, but it’s okay, because most people will understand what I’m gushing about if I keep referring to the one who wrote The Windup Girl.    I loved The Windup Girl; it filled my head with a moist and filthy future populated by machine intelligence and elephants.   Then the same author provided me with Ship Breaker, which was, among other things, an excellent audiobook for an audiobook novice.   I wasn’t that surprised when I found I even liked his short stories collected in Pump six and other stories, despite my usual lack of enthusiasm when it comes to short stories.

When The Doubt Factory is out the 14th of October, I’m all over it.

In this page-turning contemporary thriller, National Book Award Finalist and New York Times bestselling author Paolo Bacigalupi explores the timely issue of how public information is distorted for monetary gain, and how those who exploit it must be stopped.

Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie. At least that’s what a mysterious young man who’s stalking her keeps saying. But then she begins investigating the disturbing claims he makes against her father. Could her dad really be at the helm of a firm that distorts the truth and covers up wrongdoing by hugely profitable corporations that have allowed innocent victims to die? Is it possible that her father is the bad guy, and that the undeniably alluring criminal who calls himself Moses–and his radical band of teen activists–is right? Alix has to make a choice, and time is running out, but can she truly risk everything and blow the whistle on the man who loves her and raised her?

Looks like another piece of quality not-mainly-romance-y YA, which I welcome!

Waiting on: Bête

Adam Roberts intrigued me with By light alone  and Yellow Blue Tibia,  and I’ve wanted to read pretty much every book of his I’ve come across.  And I will, someday!  But, very likely, the coming novel Bête will be on the top of my reading list.  Because:

A man is about to kill a cow. He discusses life and death and his right to kill with the compliant animal. He begins to suspect he may be about to commit murder. But kills anyway…

It began when the animal rights movement injected domestic animals with artificial intelligences in bid to have the status of animals realigned by the international court of human rights. But what is an animal that can talk? Where does its intelligence end at its machine intelligence begin? And where might its soul reside?

As we place more and more pressure on the natural world and become more and more divorced, Adam Roberts’ new novel posits a world where nature can talk back, and can question us and our beliefs.


Animal intelligence! Soul philosophy! Food chain ethics!  I can’t wait, seriously.   And yet I have to wait another… 24 hours, as this becomes available to my kindle on Sep 25th. Ha!

Waiting on: The fifth season

N.K. Jemisin is yet another current author I pay a lot of attention to, after her Inheritance trilogy.  A new series starter is on its way, stated in tha author’s blog to be published in 2015;  The fifth season.  From the description, and what I know Jemisin to be able to deliver,  it sounds crazyawesome.*

* Technical term


Three terrible things happen in a single day.

Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.

She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

Waiting on: A man lies dreaming

I really, really want to read more books by Lavie Tidhar. Because I loved Osama. And he’s funny on twitter!  So though I still have The violent century and Martian sands in my to-read pile, I’m also waiting excitedly for this:

A man lies dreaming,  to be published Oct 23rd. (Or that’s when I get to buy the ebook, anyway!)

Deep in the heart of history’s most infamous concentration camp, a man lies dreaming. His name is Shomer, and before the war he was a pulp fiction author. Now, to escape the brutal reality of life in Auschwitz, Shomer spends his nights imagining another world – a world where a disgraced former dictator now known only as Wolf ekes out a miserable existence as a low-rent PI in London’s grimiest streets.

An extraordinary story of revenge and redemption, A Man Lies Dreaming is the unforgettable testament to the power of imagination.


“Imagining another world” is the trigger word for me – I really, really love alternate/parallel/stacked universes/worlds/dimensions  (those are a lot of ways to say one thing…!)  – which I blame on the components of my childhood; Mr. Benn, the chronicles of Narnia, the Neverending Story,  and then exploding all over discovering Philip K. Dick.  (And Kafka, I guess, which came before that. My “young adulthood” was actually spent being a classic literature snob.)  So uh yes. October!

Waiting on: The Peripheral

Almost five years ago (swooosh, time flies by) I was reading Wiliam Gibson’s Neuromancer. I only remember the time because it was what I was reading when I found CompanionBot, who conveniently provided for me the following novels.  Sappy? Sappy!

I enjoyed the books, but I haven’t been a dedicated Gibson reader. Still, his upcoming novel The Peripheral looks delicious.

Where Flynne and her brother, Burton, live, jobs outside the drug business are rare. Fortunately, Burton has his veteran’s benefits, for neural damage he suffered from implants during his time in the USMC’s elite Haptic Recon force.

Then one night Burton has to go out, but there’s a job he’s supposed to do—a job Flynne didn’t know he had. Beta-testing part of a new game, he tells her. The job seems to be simple: work a perimeter around the image of a tower building. Little buglike things turn up. He’s supposed to get in their way, edge them back. That’s all there is to it. He’s offering Flynne a good price to take over for him. What she sees, though, isn’t what Burton told her to expect.

It might be a game, but it might also be murder.

I’m pretty sure this is going to get a high Cool! Shiny!-rating from me.   The Peripheral is released on October 28th.  (In my region, anyway. I see there’s a November date listed too, but I don’t feel compelled to investigate where/how the different dates apply.)

Waiting on: Maplecroft

I read Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, didn’t particularly love it, and haven’t read any of hers since.  It’s about to change, though, because on September 2nd (in just a few days!), there is this.  Maplecroft: The Borden dispatches.  IO9 brought it to my attention.    Here’s the blurb from the amazon page:


Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one….

The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.

But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.

This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

See? This looks silly-awesome. I always need more silly-awesome.  I also need to remind myself that it won’t be anything like the Laundry books, and not every Lovecrafty thingy is all that great.   Still, though.

(I have never read any full-length genuine Lovecraft. A few short stories, yes, but that’s all I can take. His purple prose is in many ways more horrifying than what he described. Eesh.)

Waiting on: Mother of Eden

Can’t remember what kind of noise I made when I first found out Chris Beckett was going back to the world of Dark Eden, but he is!    Dark Eden was a very harsh – and I guess very dark – read, but so good.  It’s going to be a long wait for “Spring 2015” when Mother of Eden is scheduled for release.   (Actually – the UK release appears to be Nov 6th, 2014, but on Beckett’s site, this has been revised to spring 2015. Ack!)

The blurb doesn’t really let on how interesting this is in the Eden setting.

“We speak of a mother’s love, but we forget her power. Power over life. Power to give and to withhold.”
Generations after the breakup of the human family of Eden. the Johnfolk emphasise knowledge and innovation, the Davidfolk tradition and cohesion. But both have built hierarchical societies sustained by violence and dominated by men – and both claim to be the favoured children of a long-dead woman from Earth that all Eden knows as Gela, the mother of them all.

When Starlight Brooking meets a handsome and powerful man from across Worldpool, she believes he will offer an outlet for her ambition and energy. But she has no idea that she will be a stand-in for Gela herself, and wear Gela’s ring on her own finger.

And she has no idea either of the enemies she will make, no inkling that a time will come when she, like John Redlantern, will choose to kill.

This is just not a book I’ll expect you to enjoy without reading the predecessor Dark Eden first – so go do that, if you want some grimdark speculative fiction fitting somewhere between Lord of the flies and, uh, any space colonization tale.  (But read the relevant blurbs first so you’ll know if there’s a relevant trigger warning for you, because I can imagine there are people who would prefer to be warned away from this.)

Waiting on: The village effect

Susan Pinker’s The village effect: Why face-to-face contact matters is published on September 4th, and I found out about it through one of Steven Pinker’s tweets.

I’m interested because I eyeroll so hard when anyone harps on about how looking at gadgets and screens is ruining everything, eeeverythiing.   I’m pretty sure the book deals with the topic on a different level than the tabloid write-ups about “parent checks facebook, misses offspring’s first public embarrassment” et cetera, though.  I really would like to know some stuff about… this… stuff.  (If there is a self-checkout line at the store I will always choose it, and if something can be done through a form instead of a phone call, that’s what I’ll do – but this doesn’t mean the topic of face-to-face interaction isn’t interesting.)

Sixty years ago the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote ‘hell is other people’. Now, new evidence shows us that he was utterly wrong. Beginning from the first moments of life and at every age and stage, close contact with other people – and especially with women – affects how we think, whom we trust, and where we invest our money. Our social ties powerfully influence our sense of life satisfaction, our cognitive skills, and how resistant we are to infections and chronic disease. While information about diet, exercise, and new classes of drugs were the life-changing breakthroughs of the past decades, the new evidence is that social bonds – the people we know and care about-are just as critical to our survival.

The Village Effect tells the story of the ways face-to-face human contact changes our minds, literally. Drawing on the latest discoveries in social cognition, social networks and neuroscience, salted with profiles of real people and their relationships, Susan Pinker explains why we are driven to trust other people and form lifelong bonds, and why we ignore these connections at our peril.

Waiting on: Ancillary sword

Everybody loved winner-of-all-the-awards Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. Except the ones who had a hype/experience adjustment error.  I often bristle and glare and do my best to hate hyped books, myself.  (Though I consider it a bad habit!)  This time though, I was into it. I had no idea at the time that I was reading the first book in a planned trilogy (though I should have guessed, because when is the last time anyone wrote anything that wasn’t a trilogy?)  – but now I know, and I get to read the sequel, Ancillary Sword, in early October,  which is yet another reason to fast-forward time and get to pumpkin season already.

You know the gender thing? Everyone who’s heard anything about Ancillary Justice has heard about the gender thing. I was totally fine with it.  It didn’t matter to anything that happened, but it did something, which was to constantly remind you how much it didn’t matter, and that you were infact reading about an alien society.

The Lord of the Radch has given Breq command of the ship Mercy of Kalr and sent her to the only place she would have agreed to go — to Athoek Station, where Lieutenant Awn’s sister works in Horticulture.

Athoek was annexed some six hundred years ago, and by now everyone is fully civilized — or should be. But everything is not as tranquil as it appears. Old divisions are still troublesome, Athoek Station’s AI is unhappy with the situation, and it looks like the alien Presger might have taken an interest in what’s going on. With no guarantees that interest is benevolent.

Sometimes all I want is operatic space opera in space. I expect Breq to deliver it, again.