I haven’t done a Haul of Books thing in a long time. The result? A pile of books I’ve received for review which I haven’t told you all about, with a smaller pile of things I’ve purchased for myself that I also haven’t told you about. Well, I can’t let them sit there without at least telling you about them. So the Haul of Book begins anew!
YOU ARE BEING WATCHED.
Your every movement is being tracked, your every word recorded. Your spouse may be an informer, your children may be listening at your door, your best friend may be a member of the secret police. You are alone among thousands, among great crowds of the brainwashed, the well-behaved, the loyal. Productivity has never been higher, the media blares, and the army is ever triumphant. One wrong move, one slip-up, and you may find yourself disappeared — swallowed up by a monstrous bureaucracy, vanished into a shadowy labyrinth of interrogation chambers, show trials, and secret prisons from which no one ever escapes. Welcome to the world of the dystopia, a world of government and society gone horribly, nightmarishly wrong.
In his smash-hit anthologies Wastelands and The Living Dead, acclaimed editor John Joseph Adams showed you what happens when society is utterly wiped away. Now he brings you a glimpse into an equally terrifying future — what happens when civilization invades and dictates every aspect of your life? From 1984 to The Handmaid’s Tale, from Children of Men to Bioshock, the dystopian imagination has been a vital and gripping cautionary force. Brave New Worlds collects 33 of the best tales of totalitarian menace by some of today’s most visionary writers, including Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
When the government wields its power against its own people, every citizen becomes an enemy of the state. Will you fight the system, or be ground to dust beneath the boot of tyranny?
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.
A Feast of Crows by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
It seems too good to be true. After centuries of bitter strife and fatal treachery, the seven powers dividing the land have decimated one another into an uneasy truce. Or so it appears. . . . With the death of the monstrous King Joffrey, Cersei is ruling as regent in King’s Landing. Robb Stark’s demise has broken the back of the Northern rebels, and his siblings are scattered throughout the kingdom like seeds on barren soil. Few legitimate claims to the once desperately sought Iron Throne still exist—or they are held in hands too weak or too distant to wield them effectively. The war, which raged out of control for so long, has burned itself out.
But as in the aftermath of any climactic struggle, it is not long before the survivors, outlaws, renegades, and carrion eaters start to gather, picking over the bones of the dead and fighting for the spoils of the soon-to-be dead. Now in the Seven Kingdoms, as the human crows assemble over a banquet of ashes, daring new plots and dangerous new alliances are formed, while surprising faces—some familiar, others only just appearing—are seen emerging from an ominous twilight of past struggles and chaos to take up the challenges ahead.
It is a time when the wise and the ambitious, the deceitful and the strong will acquire the skills, the power, and the magic to survive the stark and terrible times that lie before them. It is a time for nobles and commoners, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and sages to come together and stake their fortunes . . . and their lives. For at a feast for crows, many are the guests—but only a few are the survivors.
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin (Bantam)
Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . . .
But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others–a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .
The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein (Tachyon)
An ages-old family secret breaches the boundaries between reality and magic in this fresh retelling of a classic fairy tale. When Berkeley student Will Taylor is introduced to the mysterious Feierabend sisters, he quickly falls for enigmatic Livvy, a chemistry major and accomplished chef. But Livvy’s family—vivacious actress Maddie, family historian Rose, and their mother, absent-minded Sylvia—are behaving strangely. The Feierabend women seem to believe that luck is their handmaiden, even though happiness does not necessarily follow. It is soon discovered that generations previous, the Feierabends made a contract with a powerful, otherworldly force, and it is up to Will and his best friend to unravel the riddle of this supernatural bargain in order to save Livvy from her predestined fate.
Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince by Noriko Ogiwara (Haikasoru/VIZ Media)
Oguna is an orphan with a secret even he doesn’t know—he’s a prince and heir to a terrible power. His best friend Toko is a member of the Tachibana clan and a potential high priestess able to tame that power…or destroy it.
State of Decay by James Knapp (Roc)
Just because you’re dead doesn’t mean you’re useless…
A thrilling debut novel of a dystopian future populated by a new breed of zombie
They call them revivors-technologically reanimated corpses-and away from the public eye they do humanity’s dirtiest work. But FBI agent Nico Wachalowski has stumbled upon a conspiracy involving revivors being custom made to kill-and a startling truth about the existence of these undead slaves.
A Cup of Normal by Devon Monk (Fairwood Press)
These twenty-two short stories are measured out with a cup of normal and a pound of the fantastic. From dark fairytales to alien skies, Monk’s stories blend haunting yesterdays, forgotten todays and twisted tomorrows wherein: …A normal little girl in a city made of gears, takes on the world to save a toy…. …A normal ancient monster living in Seattle, must decide if love is worth trusting a hero… …A normal patchwork woman and her two-headed boyfriend stitch their life and farm together with needle, thread, and time… …a normal vampire in a knitting shop must face sun-drenched secrets… …a normal snow creature’s wish changes a mad man’s life… …a normal man breaks reality with a hamster… …and yes, a normal little robot, defines how extraordinary friendship can be. Poignant, bittersweet, frightening, and funny, these stories pour out worlds that are both lovely and odd, darkly strange and tantalizingly familiar, where no matter how fantastic the setting or situation, love, freedom, and hope find a way to take root and thrive.
Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars, and Other Unusual Suspects by Ken Scholes (Fairwood Press)
Return to Ken Scholes’ Imagination Forest in this second collection of quirky, off-beat short stories. Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars and Other Unusual Suspects gathers seventeen tales spanning his first published story in 2000 to his most recent in 2009 including two stories set in the world of his Psalms of Isaak series. You’ll encounter cynical Santas and explore the dating woes of superheroes. You’ll join God and Satan in the bar for a glass of merlot and watch the hyjinx unfold as Reverend Sparkle Jones leads his rag-tag gang of misfits across a post-apocalyptic America in search of the holy grail to stem the tide of an alien invasion. You’ll meet the Lady of the Lake in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and bump into Abe and his backup singers as they do their part to save the world. So settle in for the ride and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times. Here in the Imagination Forest, you never know exactly who – or what – you’ll come across.
Do any of these interest you? If so, let me know in the comments!