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Archive for December, 2011

The Holiday Buyers’ Guide, 2011

We did a holiday shopping guide last year for our books, and now we’re doing another one. Sure, it’s a little late in the season, but let’s face it—many of you will be getting ebook readers and then actually buying books for yourselves the same day anyway. So here is our year in review.

Mardock Scramble
It’s an epic of post-cyberpunk. It’s also very strange. Yes, as is perhaps an inevitability in these post-Pokemon times, the main character has a little yellow mouse as a best friend and as a pocket-sized assistant badass. And yes, there is a three hundred page interlude of casino gambling. If you’re ready for weird SF, this is the one for you.

Rocket Girls: The Last Planet

A sequel to Rocket Girls but it can be read on its own. Lots of so-called “hard SF” isn’t very hard at all—it’s really just bellicose about tough decisions and that sort of thing. Thus, humorless, and with dubious science. The Rocket Girls series is different: it’s real hard science fiction with all the physics and rocket science intact, and is delightful and light and charming at the same time. If you have a kid, or are a kid, and want to encourage an interest in science, buy ’em both.

Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince

Epic fantasy, Japanese style. Not a sequel to Dragon Sword and Wind Child but set in the same ancient Japan, this is a story of conquest, betrayal and true love. It’s also heavily influenced by anime and traditional Japanese legends and folklore. I did a little interview with the fantasy magazine Black Gate in May, and that will get you up to speed.

Good Luck, Yukikaze

Yes, there were a lot of sequels and continuations in the summer of ’11. While Yukikaze was more a novel-in-stories, this sequel is a large philosophical novel. The real battle is in inner space, in the recesses of Rei’s mind. The alien JAM are as enigmatic as ever, though we do learn more about them, and who they are really at war with. A must for lovers of the anime, or the first book.

ICO: Castle in the Mist

This was a big hit for us! A novelization of the cult classic videogame, ICO was also a labor of love for its author, Miyuki Miyabe. She loved the game (and games in general) and really brought all the skills she does to any of her hit novels to this book. It’s not quite “canon”, but its interpretation of Ico’s quest and Yorda’s past is wonderful. You don’t need to be a fan of the game to read the book, but if you do love the game, you need this.

The Cage of Zeus

Hard SF with a gender theme. Nothing seems so natural as a world of men and women, but gender—how we act as men and women—isn’t nearly so permanent or obvious as we may think. This book explores those issues in a deep-space setting, and provides plenty of actions as a terrorist group targets the genetically engineered Rounds (for “round-trip gender”), who have the sex organs of both genders.

The Book of Heroes

Now in paperback! And in ebook form as well! Miyuki Miyabe’s story of school bullying, a bratty Chosen One, and the evil King in Yellow from the classic nineteenth century horror tales of Robert W. Chambers has never been less expensive, and makes a great present. (Or self-present.)

Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights

Japanese fans voted this the greatest Japanese SF novel of all time, for its epic sensibility and eon-spanning story. Here in the US National Public Radio loved it too. Indeed, we had to rush back to print already. And it makes a good Christmas present especially as cyber-Jesus and robo-Buddha have a high-tech laser battle twenty million years in the future! So, a holiday theme!

Keep an eye out online and in your local bookstore for our titles. They make great presents, and if you happen to get a gift certificate to a store or amazon or whatnot yourself, add our books to your list!

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It’s late at night in the President’s private apartments. All is quiet. Outside, the night sky swirls with stars, but the only ones who’d care are fishermen eager to read next morning’s weather conditions. As ever, the beauty of nature bores the locals.

President Matías Guili sits on the sofa and mulls over the afternoon’s events. Earlier in the evening, he visited Angelina’s for a small snifter of cognac and commiseration, too preoccupied for much else. It’s been one hell of a hard day.

Today’s events call for otherworldly insights, the kind a spirit he knows can provide. He must summon him properly but can barely bring himself to say “Lee Bo,” the ghost of a name.

He rises from the sofa to fetch a candle, which he lights with the seldom-used coffee table cigarette lighter and places in the equally clunky ashtray beside it. Then he gets up again and turns off the room lights. No drafts enter the room, yet the flame wavers briefly before coming to a stable pinpoint of illumination. As age increases, so does ceremony. He looks at the candle and shakes his head; nothing but protocol lately. Politically, he pretends to tackle each and every situation, but it hardly takes more than a superficial mental swish. Real judgments are rare; he merely moves from ceremony to ceremony. Not once in the last year has he actually had to shift out of autopilot. Probably the last time was that Tamang decision. And he wonders why the days are so monotonous?

The flame stays perfectly still, not a flicker of movement. He stares until all thought settles like ash. Presently the flame appears to flare. He strains his eyes, then looks up to see sitting there before him…Lee Bo, glowering head-on. Matías nods. The apparition nods back.


All Things Considered…including THE HEAT DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE!

Well, look what happened this morning on amazon.com’s Movers and Shakers list for digital books!

(Yeah yeah, at one point Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights was #1 on the list, but by the time I woke up we were beaten by some sexy book.)

What happened? Simple: National Public Radio’s All Things Considered reviewed the book and it was a rave! It’s a perfect Christmas gift too—as Jesus is in it, and he’s a vengeance-seeking cyborg three billion years in the future!

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A sneak peek

We don’t even have a book page up for this title yet, but we’re excited to share with you this sneak peek of our forthcoming magical realist epic The Navidad Incident: The Downfall of Matías Guili by Natsuki Ikezawa in the current issue of Words Without Borders. WWB is a great publication, and they’ve featured us before. We’re thrilled to be a part of their International Fantasy issue.

Keep an eye out for the book, which will be coming your way in glorious hardcover in March!

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