The Haul of Books 2.0: Books Received Vol. 3

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It’s time for yet another edition of the Haul of Books, in which I tell you about the stuff that recently showed up at my door in one form or another.
Let’s get started:

The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike by Philip K. Dick (Tor)

The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike was written by Philip K. Dick in the winter and spring of 1960, in Point Reyes Station, California. In the sequence of Dick’s work, it was written immediately after Confessions of a Crap Artist and just before The Man in the High Castle, the Hugo Award–winning science fiction novel that ushered in the next stage of Dick’s career.

This novel, Dick said, is about Leo Runcible, “a brilliant, civic minded liberal Jew living in a rural WASP town in Marin County, California.” Runcible, a real estate agent involved in a local battle with a neighbor, finds what look like Neanderthal bones in Marin and dreams of rising real estate prices because of the publicity.

But it turns out that the remains are more recent, the result of an environmental problem polluting the local water supply.

We Can Report Them by Michael Brodsky (Four Walls Eight Windows)

In We Can Report Them, Bert, the director of an unorthodox TV commercial, aims to canonize a serial killer as a viable cultural hero. Pudd, the serial killer, has undergone a pseudoreligious conversion. These two, plus Joyce, a patient combating her fatal disease on any terms but the real ones, all seek answers through creation, expressing their unique slant on what passes for reality in defiance of authority.

The Devil’s Diaries by Nicholas D. Satan (Lyons Press)

Narrating the Devil’s random musings on key dates through history, “The Devil’s Diaries” reveals Satan’s part in such things as the Fall; musical moments at the crossroads; the invention of the tetrapak, making work for idle hands; small print; Faust; decorating hell circle by circle; the joy of getting all the best tunes; and, lawyers. The Dark One reveals his disquiet at the way some of this finest ideas have been hijacked and credited elsewhere; and confesses his frustration that much of his best work goes unappreciated. We also gain extraordinary insights into his private thoughts, and discover that even Satan gets depressed.

Geist by Philippa Ballantine (Ace)

Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off the malevolent haunting of the geists…

Among the most powerful of the Order is Sorcha, now thrust into partnership with the novice Deacon, Merrick Chambers. They have been dispatched to the isolated village of Ulrich to aide the Priory with a surge of violent geist activity. With them is Raed Rossin, Pretender to the throne that Sorcha is sworn to protect, and bearer of a terrible curse.

But what greets them in the strange settlement is something far more predatory and more horrifying than any mere haunting. And as she uncovers a tradition of twisted rituals passed down through the dark reaches of history, Sorcha will be forced to reconsider everything she thinks she knows.

And if she makes it out of Ulrich alive, what in Hell is she returning to?

Spectyr by Philippa Ballantine (Ace)

Though one of the most powerful Deacons, Sorcha Faris has a tarnished reputation to overcome, which is why she jumps at the chance to investigate a string of murders in the exotic city of Orithal. But it is there that her lover, the shapeshifting rival to the throne, is targeted by a cruel and vengeful goddess, unwittingly unleashed by the Emperor’s sister.

Sword of Fire and Sea by Erin Hoffman (Pyr)

Three generations ago Captain Vidarian Rulorat’s great-grandfather gave up an imperial commission to commit social catastrophe by marrying a fire priestess. For love, he unwittingly doomed his family to generations of a rare genetic disease that follows families who cross elemental boundaries. Now Vidarian, the last surviving member of the Rulorat family, struggles to uphold his family legacy, and finds himself chained to a task as a result of the bride price his great-grandfather paid: the Breakwater Agreement, a seventy-year-old alliance between his family and the High Temple of Kara’zul, domain of the fire priestesses.

The priestess Endera has called upon Vidarian to fulfill his family’s obligation by transporting a young fire priestess named Ariadel to a water temple far to the south, through dangerous pirate-controlled territory. A journey perilous in the best of conditions is made more so by their pursuers: rogue telepathic magic-users called the Vkortha who will stop at nothing to recover Ariadel, who has witnessed their forbidden rites.

Together, Vidarian and Ariadel will navigate more than treacherous waters: Imperial intrigue, a world that has been slowly losing its magic for generations, secrets that the priestesshoods have kept for longer, the indifference of their elemental goddesses, gryphons—once thought mythical—now returning to the world, and their own labyrinthine family legacies. Vidarian finds himself at the intersection not only of the world’s most volatile elements, but of colliding universes, and the ancient and alien powers that lurk between them.

The Mall by S.L. Grey (Corvus)

Dan is an angsty emo-kid who works in a deadly dull shopping mall. He hates his job.

Rhoda is a junkie whose babysitting charge ran off while she was scoring cocaine. She hates her life. Rhoda bullies Dan into helping her search, but as they explore the neon-lit corridors behind the mall, disturbing text messages lure them into the bowels of the building, where old mannequins are stored in grave-like piles and raw sewage drips off the ceiling. The only escape is down.

Plummeting into the earth in a disused service lift playing head-splitting Musak, Dan and Rhoda enter a sinister underworld that mirrors their worst fears. They finally escape, but something feels different. Why are the shoppers all pumped full of silicone? Why are the shop assistants chained to their counters? And why is a café called McColon’s selling lumps of bleeding meat?

Just when they think they’ve made it back to the mall, they realize the nightmare has only just begun…

Well, Duh!  Our Stupid World, and Welcome To It by Bob Fenster (Andrews Mcmeel Publishing)

Bob Fenster has combed the world of the intellectually challenged searching for more tales of stupidity to entertain us with . . . and he’s hit the jackpot! After the success of his first two books, Duh! and They Did What!?, Fenster has struck again with Well, Duh! Our Stupid World, and Welcome to It. More tales of the dim-witted and simpleminded are incorporated in chapters such as: Food for Thoughtlessness: The All-Turnip Diet and Other Loony Meals at the Mindless Cafe Hollyweird: Bird Brains in Tinsel Town Dumb Ways to Die: Buried Alive but Not for Long Government by the Idiots: How to Get Elected to AnythingCombined sales of Bob Fenster’s previous two books total over 50,000 copies.Ted Rueter is a self-described political junkie and a professor of political science at Tulane University in New Orleans. He is the author of eight books and has written for the New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has taught at Middlebury College, Georgetown University, Smith College, and UCLA. He is the founder of Noise Free America (Noisefree.org). His Web site is DrPolitics.com.Bob Fenster has combed the world of the intellectually challenged searching for more tales of stupidity to entertain us with . . . and he’s hit the jackpot! After the success of his first two books, Duh! and They Did What!?, Fenster has struck again with Well, Duh! Our Stupid World, and Welcome to It. More tales of the dim-witted and simpleminded are incorporated in chapters such as: Food for Thoughtlessness: The All-Turnip Diet and Other Loony Meals at the Mindless Cafe Hollyweird: Bird Brains in Tinsel Town Dumb Ways to Die: Buried Alive but Not for Long Government by the Idiots: How to Get Elected to AnythingCombined sales of Bob Fenster’s previous two books total over 50,000 copies.

And there you have it.  Are any of these of interest to you?  What books have you received recently that you’d like to let me (or anyone else) know about?

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

3 thoughts on “The Haul of Books 2.0: Books Received Vol. 3

  1. Reading the blurb for "Sword of Fire and Sea," I was unable to stop my brain screaming "racist magic system fail." A quick search for reviews didn't turn anything critical up, so if you ever review it or something, let me know how that don't-mix-your-elements thing works out.

  2. Hi guys. Erin here. 🙂 Ben, an interesting and I think apt if unfortunate observation about the blurb. If you do pick up the book I'd be interested to hear what you think in the end, as — I think — it might be quite the opposite of how it sounds and is important to the plot. It's something I'll certainly keep an eye out for in future synopses, since (hopefully obviously) I don't want to create that impression. Without spoiling too much, all I'll say is that I am multiethnic (Japanese-Chinese-French-German-English-Irish), and the conceptual use of elements paralleling race in some ways is a deliberate and important part of the Andovar universe. Doesn't mean I did it well, but what's in there is mostly conscious. Again, something I'm quite interested to listen to more of your thoughts on and discuss if you'd like.

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