Thursday, April 30, 2009

Books on the horizon

Several new books coming out down the line that look like they will appeal to GLW readers. Here are few to consider.

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
by Reif Larsen. I wrote about this one at my site earlier this month. It's an illustrated novel which I always find appealing. The description makes it hard to resist (although I do admit there is no small degree of "whimsy" involved here):

When twelve-year-old genius cartographer T.S. Spivet receives an unexpected phone call from the Smithsonian announcing he has won the prestigious Baird Award, life as normal — if you consider mapping family dinner table conversation normal — is interrupted and a wild cross-country adventure begins, taking T.S. from his family ranch just north of Divide, Montana, to the museum's hallowed halls.

T.S. sets out alone, leaving before dawn with a plan to hop a freight train and hobo east. Once aboard, his adventures step into high gear and he meticulously maps, charts, and illustrates his exploits, documenting mythical wormholes in the Midwest, the urban phenomenon of "rims," and the pleasures of McDonald's, among other things. We come to see the world through T.S.'s eyes and in his thorough investigation of the outside world he also reveals himself.

Look for it the first week of May (and also hopefully in my Bookslut YA column with other "road trip" titles in August.)

Car aficionados should take a long look at The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Automobiles by Giles Chapman. From the pub:

This chunky format, retro-feel encyclopedia reviews 150 of the most incredible cars in motoring history from the earliest to experiments for the future. Each automobile is illustrated and accompanied by informative text, a colorful quote, and a specifications box. Distributed generously throughout the book are delightful photographic spreads showing cars that are typical of their era. The chapters trace the story from the first steam-powered vehicles and the Ford Model T, to favorites such as the James Bond amphibian car, the holder of the supersonic land speed record, and right up to the latest Air car, which has been hailed as the true car of tomorrow.

This one is also due out in May.

Scott Westerfield has a new trilogy debuting this fall, and as usual he is at the forefront of the new cool in YA lit; this time it is steampunk.

"It is the cusp of World War I and all of the European powers are arming themselves for combat. The machine loving Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their big steam-powered Clankers loaded with guns and explosives. Inspired by the discoveries of Darwin, the British have fabricated animals into warships. Their mothership, the Leviathan, is a marvelous whale dirigible."

is due out October 6th - there's no cover available yet although the catalog pics are awesome.

Rick Yancey (of The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp) has a new series starting this fall also. The Monstrumologist is due out September 22nd. The current description is short and sweet: "A monster-hunting doctor and his apprentice face off against a plague of monsters."

Okay, what's not to love in that one? (Also apparently set in Victorian times and perhaps with steampunk influences as well.) (I swear, steampunk is THE new big thing this year.)

Alas - no cover on this one online yet either.

For basketball fans The Shooting Stars sounds like something special. It's due from Penguin this fall and as there is nothing yet online, I'm going to give you the full catalog copy:

The Shooting Stars were a bunch of kids— LeBron James and his best friends— from Akron, Ohio, who first met on a youth basketball team of the same name when they were ten and eleven years old. United by their love of the game and their yearning for companionship, they quickly forged a bond that would carry them through thick and thin (a lot of thin)and, at last, to a national championship in their senior year of high school. They were a motley group who faced challenges all too typical of inner-city America. LeBron grew up without a father and had moved with his mother more than a dozen times by the age of ten. Willie McGee, the quiet one, had left both his parents behind in Chicago to be raised by his older brother in Akron. Dru Joyce was outspoken, and his dad was ever present; he would end up coaching all five of the boys in high school.

Sian Cotton, who also played football, was the happy-go-lucky enforcer, while Romeo Travis was unhappy, bitter, even surly, until he finally opened himself up to the bond his teammates offered him.

In the summer after seventh grade, the Shooting Stars tasted glory when they qualified for a national championship tournament in Memphis. But they lost their focus and had to go home early. They promised one another they would stay together and do whatever it took to win a national title. They had no idea how hard it would be to fulfill that promise. In the years that followed, they would endure jealousy, hostility, exploitation, resentment from the black community (because they went to a “white” high school), and the consequences of their own overconfidence. Not least, they would all have to wrestle with LeBron’s outsize success, which brought too much attention and even a whiff of scandal their way. But together these five boys became men, and together they claimed the prize they had fought for all those years — a national championship.

I'll be sure to mention when it comes out; I'm impressed by the description and the fact that the co-author is Buzz Bissinger of Friday Night Lights.

And finally, Conan fans should note that Subterranean Press has Crimson Shadows: The Best of Robert E. Howard Vol. One due out in August. What you're getting here is a sample of everything else Howard wrote about beyond the Barbarian he is famous for. From the Sub Press site:

Robert E Howard is best known as the father of “sword and sorcery” fiction, an exciting blend of swashbuckling action and supernatural horror epitomized by his characters King Kull, barbarian usurper of the throne of fabled Valusia, and Conan, who wanders the Hyborian Age “to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.”

But the young Texas author was far more gifted and versatile than many readers know: in a career that lasted only twelve years before his untimely death, he wrote some 300 stories and 800 poems, covering anastonishing variety of subject matter—fantasy, boxing, westerns, horror, adventure, historical, detective, spicy, even confessions—running the gamut from dark fantasy to broad humor, from brooding horror to gentle love story. In this volume, and its forthcoming companion, editor Rusty Burke, with help from his fellow Howard fans and scholars, has selected the very best of Howard's work from most of these genres, enabling newer readers to discover the richness of Howard's varied oeuvre, fans of his fantasy tales to sample his other work, and long-time fans to reconnect with old favorites.

Crimson Shadows
is illustrated with both color plates and b/w illustrations. It is a spendy, but if your going to invest in an author than Howard is one to look for. (And hopefully, with the limited edition coming out another pub will pick up an affordable trade paperback edition later.)


Kristopher said...

re: Robert E. Howard...

Del Rey has already begun putting out the trade paperback editions.

I picked up the collected Conan stories years ago at a used book shop, and they became an integral part of my high school years. They've been out of print for years, though, largely because of legal trouble between the copyright holders and publishers. It's so incredible they're back in print now.

Colleen said...

Excellent news Kristopher! I'm a huge Howard fan - I find the guy fascinating (in a Jack London sort of way - if that makes any sense).

Thanks for letting us know about the tpbs.