Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Great New Books

This week has been rather interesting for me, as I found out that _three_ books I've been awaiting for a long time have just come out! And there's another on the way later this month.

1. Sunshine by Robin McKinley. She's been on my must-read list for many years now. Anything she deigns to write, I will read and buy -- that's all I need to know, and she's never made me regret that resolution yet. Her brand new book is not one of her typical fantasies (and it's not rated G or even PG, just to warn you), but rather takes place in an alternate modern or near-future Earth which is populated by all manner of magic and monsters. Our protagonist bakes Cinnamon Rolls as Big as Your Head for a living, but that doesn't mean she's not going to have a run-in with vampires. C'mon. Just one bite. You'll like it....

2. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold, another buy-on-sight writer for me. It's a sequel to The Curse of Chalion, Bujold's alternate Spain fantasy, but stands alone if you haven't read Chalion. (Why haven't you?) I'd say this is a hard PG-13, maybe a little more. Once again, Bujold asks what doing God's will and being a saint really means, in a context which won't scare off sf/f fans. The answers she gives are once again the hard truth of the matter.

3. Goddess of the Ice Realms by David Drake. Drake didn't used to be a must-read for me, as he was a bit too depressing. Now he's just satisfying dark and gritty and militarily realistic, which I can take. This book is the latest volume of the wonderfully pulpy fantasy series which started with Lord of the Isles, but this is as good a starting point as any. If you like good old world-saving, monster-killing, evil mage-destroying, weird place-wandering fantasy, you'll love this.

The book that's coming out later this month is also by him: The Far Side of the Stars, the latest installment of the Leary and Mundy Royal Cinnabar (spaceship) Navy adventures. Daniel Leary is a heroic, womanizing tactical genius with starships. Adele Mundy is a quiet, deadly shot who's a genius with information retrieval (legal or no). And there is absolutely nothing between them. Uh huh. You just ask them. 'Cause Daniel would never ever be interested in a permanent relationship, especially with a woman who's not a bubblehead. Yup, Adele's just his bestest buddy and he doesn't think of her that way at all. (Not that I have anything against friendship, you understand. But this is pretty clearly pre-romance. If you enjoy that sort of thing, you'll enjoy this plenty.) You can read/download the first volume for free from Baen; both the 1st and 2nd books will be on the CD that Baen's binding into The Far Side of the Stars. They know books are crack; that's why they give 'em out for free.


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