This just in: Subterranean Press will be doing a limited edition of China Mieville's Kraken. Vincent Chong will be doing the cover. If it is half as awesome as their printing of The City & The City, I'll be a happy camper. Perhaps they'll be cheeky and offer matching numbers, like they did for Richard Morgan's books?
We hit last week's London Book Fair to see what's of interest to genre readers (also, to blag proofs).
A few highlights from Quercus:
Carrion Comfort: Dan Simmons' tale of psychic vampires hits classic status with this 20th anniversary reprint. Simmons gets credit for reinventing bloodsuckers in this disturbing political thriller. Well-timed, as the combo of espionage & the supernatural seems to be heating up. Carrion Comfort will be released in paperback this July.
The Line Up: Edited by Otto Penzler, this is a unique collection by some of the world's leading crime writers. Each reveals the background behind their unforgettable characters. Perhaps "leading" and "unforgettable" are both hyperbole, but this collection does nab Lee Child, Ken Bruen, Anne Perry, Michael Connolly, David Morrell and Ian Rankin. Released in hardback in November.
Although the novel is set during one of the uneasy truces between the Human and non-Human tribes, things are far from peaceful.
Joshua (Human) and Beauty (Centaur) are good friends. Both are trying to eke out peaceful existences as farmers. They're also both married: Beauty to Rose, a human (creepy) and Joshua to Dicey (a human, age 15, also creepy). But their (creepy) happiness is shattered when a team of monsters kidnap their brides. Joshua and Beauty, in the best Western tradition, must lay down their plowshares and kick a bit of ass.
If you'd like a crack at being in this book, it isn't too late.
And there's something wonderfully mysterious about the code phrase. "Jon Green sent me" was the official recognition phrase for undercover Stasi agents in the 1970's, so I'm glad to see it back in use.
Feel good about yourself and run the risk of seeing your name in print. Not bad for a few minutes' work.
China Mieville, Mark Charan Newton & Adam Nevill are all at Forbidden Planet on 20 May, between 6-7 pm. Also signing at exactly the same time & place? Chris Claremont. So, basically, just by showing up, the man provokes a cross-title continuity crisis. Huzzah!
The Daffodil Girls (1969) are a troupe of foxy blonde dancers. Recruited from small English towns, they're sent overseas en masse to kick, leap, wiggle and writhe in dance halls and clubs all over the world.
The story follows Samantha, the latest recruit.
At the tender of age of 16, she has to do some fast talking to let her conservative mother allow her to travel with the Daffodils. The story is almost over before it begins, but Jimmy (the London recruiter) manages to convince all the concerned parties of the troupe's respectability (page 12).
They're shagging by page 15.
Pages 16 through 255 are equally lusty. Sam is first sent to Rome for training, where she discovers that the troupe's founder maintains discipline with spanking and shagging. The many young ladies of the troupe put up with this, as it seems a "small price to pay" for their lifestyle of drinking and hob-nobbing with Italy's finest expats. Sam's small circle grows to include a journalist (a blatant Mary Sue for the author, a journalist himself) and an elderly, famous actor. Both of these men serve as guardian angels - protecting Sam from the worst dangers (not counting themselves, both of whom enjoy Sam's favors).
Although some conventional and inhibited readers may see this as a chronicle of sex slavery, well... they'd be right. But hey, hilarious hijinks ensue, generally involving spanking, shagging, oral sex and drinking until comatose. In France, Sam hooks up with a dodgy boat captain who mistakes her for an heiress and gets her heart broken (also, more shagging). This is a prolonged escapade (she's saved by the journalist) and the last remotely realistic thing that happens in the course of the book.
Here are my picks for the Top 10 long-form, printed works by Stephen King. He's an infinitely better short story writer than a novelist, so they only get to count as part of a collection. And we're leaving his films for another day.
10. The Running Man (1982): More science fiction than horror, this is an oddly prophetic (a phrase repeated for my #1 pick) grimpunk adventure set in a cancer-ridden future obsessed with reality television. Infused with a compelling bitterness from start to finish.
9. Christine (1983): A combination of gory, visceral horror and a coming of age tale. Entertaining (and often silly) story of a car that will EAT YOU. Would've been much better as a short story, but unlike many of his other long works, isn't too bloated at novel length.
"I'm a sort of Victorian weekend naturalist of technology, who somehow found a way to make a living doing that (and a bunch of other things at the same time)." -- William Gibson
Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive will feature "26 years of Clancy's major fictional characters jointly facing the threat of modern terrorism. Jack Ryan, Jr. and his colleagues at a secret US counter-terrorism organization, have been waging an unofficial campaign against terrorists and are on the trail of terrorist mastermind the Emir -- but winning the war on terrorism doesn't appear to be a priority for President Kealty, Jack Ryan's successor in the Oval Office".
A 1.75 million copy first printing will hit the shelves in December.
If you can't wait until December to learn about how a right-wing military hero named Jack is part of an unofficial group that fights terror despite the weak support of a lackluster President, I suspect there's something out there for you.