“On The Smugglers’ Radar” is a new feature for books that have caught our eye: books we have heard of via other bloggers, directly from publishers, and/or from our regular incursions into the Amazon jungle. Thus, the Smugglers’ Radar was born. Because we want far more books than we can possibly buy or review (what else is new?), we thought we would make the Smugglers’ Radar into a weekly feature – so YOU can tell us which books you have on your radar as well!
On Ana’s Radar:
I am MOST excited about this week’s radar afetr perusing Fall Catalogues as well as featured BEA titles. First up, two more books from Strange Chemistry. It’s official: I now want to read ALL THEIR BOOKS. And seriously – these guys are making a tremendous effort with their covers. I love them all so far.
15-year-old Julie Richardson is about to learn that being the daughter of a witch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When she and her best friend, Marcus, witness an elderly lady jettisoned out the front door of her home, it’s pretty obvious to Julie there’s a supernatural connection.
In fact, there’s a whisper of menace behind increasing levels of poltergeist activity all over town. After a large-scale paranormal assault on Julie’s high school, her mother falls victim to the spell Endless Night. Now it’s a race against time to find out who is responsible or Julie won’t just lose her mother’s soul, she’ll lose her mother’s life.
The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent. Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history like that, though. She is making her first submarine voyage as crew; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career. There is nothing nice and simple about the deep black waters of Russalka, however; soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet.
Moving on to three titles from Tor’s Fall Catalogue. First up is The Rise of Ransom City by Felix Gilman. I really liked The Hald-Made World and will definitely be reading this one as well.
In The Half-Made World, Felix Gilman took readers deep into a world on the cusp of forging an identity. The Line, a cult of Industry, and the Gun, a mission of Chaos, were engaged in a war for dominance, one that The Line was winning city by city, enslaving the populations it conquered. A doctor of psychology, Liv Alverhuysen, was caught in the middle, unknowingly guarding a secret that both sides would do anything to have. Now Liv is lost on the edge of the world with Creedmor, an
agent of the Gun, and the powerful Line will stop at nothing to
But Harry Ransom, half con man, half mad inventor, is setting the edge of the world aglow. Town by town he is building up a bank roll and leaving hope in his wake because one of his inventions is actually working. But his genius is not going unnoticed, and when he crosses paths with the two most wanted outlaws in the “unmade world,” his stage becomes even larger and presents an opportunity more lucrative than any of his scams or inventions combined.
Mixing Jane Eyre, Fae and Steampunk: it could go right but it could also go SO wrong. I am a bit wary BUT excited:
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.
It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.
When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a “delicate situation”—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.
Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.
Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discover just how far she will go to become whole again.
And OMG SUPERHEROES. I have a thing for Superhero books so I am definitely looking forward to this one:
in the future, genetically engineered superhumans, inspired by classic earth comic book heroes, fight to keep the peace in the wild and wooly space habitats of the Asteroid Belt.
2107 AD: A generation ago, Earth and the cislunar colonies banned genetic and cybernetic modifications. But out in the Asteroid Belt, anything goes. Dozens of flourishing space habitats are spawning exotic new societies and strange new varieties of humans. It’s a volatile situation that threatens the peace and stability of the entire solar system.
Emerald Blair is a Troubleshooter. Inspired by the classic superhero comics of the twentieth century, she’s joined with other mods to try to police the unruly Asteroid Belt. But her loyalties are tested when she finds herself torn between rival factions of superhumans with very different agendas. Emerald wants to put her special abilities to good use, but what do you do when you can’t tell the heroes from the villains? Only Superhuman is a rollicking hard-SF adventure set in a complex and fascinating future.
Listen, the blurb for Elsewhens says: “theater, magic, art, and politics all ble..” SAY NO MORE. You had me at theater!magic!art!politics!
theater, magic, art, and politics all blend in this amazing new high-fantasy series from the imagination of Melanie Rawn.
Touchstone, the magical theater troupe, continues to build audiences. But Cayden is increasingly troubled by his “elsewhens,” the uncontrolled moments when he is plunged into visions of the possible futures. He fears that his Fae gift will forever taint his friendships; his friends fear that his increasing distance will destroy him.
But worldly success follows them—an apparent loss in the Trials leads to Touchstone being selected to travel to the Continent with a Royal Embassy to collect Prince Ashgar’s new bride. They are the first theater artists to appear outside Albeyn for at least seventy years—for magic is suspect and forbidden elsewhere, and the Kingdom’s easy race mixing and magic use horrifies the people they are to travel among.
Meg Rosoff has a new book coming out and already an awesome cover! No set release date yet and no official blurb BUT here is how the author describes it:
“It’s way too early to talk about what the book is about, but I will say that it’s a heartrending future classic, soon to be a major motion picture, not to mention a thoughtful, insanely sophisticated exploration of the relationship between adults and children. It contains a gigantic easter egg, lots of French toast and a weed whacker. No one dies in the end. No animals were harmed in the writing. None of the children has cancer. And yes, there is a dog. But no Eck.”
OH MY GOD. I want this so badly. And here is the awesome cover:
Finally, a new Brandon Sanderson book! Yay!
From the bestselling author of the Mistborn Trilogy and co-author of the final three books of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series comes the tale of a heretic thief who is the only hope for the survival of an empire.
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Though condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Despite the fact that her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead from the attack of assassins.
Delving deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that her forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.
Skillfully deducing the machinations of her captors, Shai needs a perfect plan to escape. The fate of the kingdom lies in one impossible task. Is it possible to create a forgery of a soul so convincing that it is better than the soul itself?
On Thea’s Radar:
OH MY GOD THE NEW SANDERSON!!!!! Ahem. I want many, many of the books Ana does. But onto my radar! First up, a retelling of Tarzan, but from Jane‘s perspective. HELL YES. Also, love this cover. LOVE.
The legendary story of tarzan told from Jane’s perspective,
authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate
Cambridge, England: 1905.
Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in Cambridge University’s medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat, dissecting corpses,
than she is in a corset and gown, sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of travelling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scienti?c hero, Charles Darwin.
When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father on an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Rising to the challenge, Jane ?nds an Africa that is every bit exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined. But she quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane ?nds her hero, the key to humanity’s past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.
Jane is the ?rst version of the Tarzan story written by a woman and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. Its 2012 publication will mark the centennial of the publication of the original Tarzan of the Apes.
Cory Doctorow + Charles Stross. HELL. YES.
Welcome to the fractured future, at the dusk of the twenty-first century.
Earth has a population of roughly a billion hominids. For the most part, they are happy with their lot, living in a preserve at the bottom of a gravity well. Those who are unhappy have emigrated, joining one or another of the swarming dense thinker clades that fog the inner solar system with a dust of molecular machinery so thick that it obscures the sun.
The splintery metaconsciousness of the solar system has largely sworn off its pre-post-human cousins dirtside, but its minds sometimes wander…and when that happens, it casually spams Earth’s networks with plans for cataclysmically disruptive technologies that emulsify whole industries, cultures, and spiritual systems. A sane species would ignore these get evolved-quick there’s always someone who’ll take a bite from the forbidden apple.
So until the overminds tire of stirring Earth’s anthill, there’s Tech Jury Service: random humans, selected arbitrarily, charged with assessing dozens of new inventions and ruling on whether to let them loose. Young Huw, a technophobic, misanthropic Welshman, has been selected for the latest jury, a task he does his best to perform despite an itchy technovirus, the apathy of the proletariat, and a couple of truly awful moments on
And another title from Tor’s fall catalog…
The start of an original new urban fantasy series starring human chameleon Ciel Halligan
Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.
This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable… that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.
Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.
Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.
I love the look of this Agatha H. style steampunk novel:
From the award-winning creator of Hollow Fields comes the start of an all new, steampunk adventure trilogy!
London, 1895: Riots in the streets!
Erasmus Croach’s miraculous factory, Ember, has flooded London with steampowered automatons. The already suffering working class take to the streets to protest the jobs lost to these machines, and to quell the riot, Captain Thorn of Scotland Yard calls in Ember’s latest and greatest creation, the automatic police boy, Sky!
Meanwhile, Sally Peppers, Croach’s headstrong and brilliant niece, dreams of a life beyond manners and marriageability. When she escapes her overbearing governess on a motorized velocipede and joins a no-rules road rally through the slums, Croach sends Sky to bring her back, preferably alive.
Together, the impulsive Sally and the naive Sky crash headlong into a mystery involving rogue automatons prowling the sewers, children disappearing without a trace, and a dark secret so big it could overturn all of London. But the biggest mystery of all is why Sky is the first robot who can dream….
I have The Clockwork Rocket on my TBR and I *will* read it soon – just in time for the release of The Eternal Flame:
Greg Egan’s The Clockwork Rocket introduced readers to an exotic universe where the laws of physics are very different from our own, where the speed of light varies in ways Einstein would never allow, and where intelligent life has evolved in unique and fascinating ways. Now Egan continues his epic tale of alien beings embarked on a desperate voyage to save their world . . . .
The generation ship Peerless is in search of advanced technology capable of sparing their home planet from imminent destruction. In theory, the ship is traveling fast enough that it can traverse the cosmos for generations–and still return home only a few years after they departed. But a critical fuel shortage threatens to cut their urgent voyage short, even as a population explosion stretches the ship’s life-support capacity to its limits.
When the astronomer Tamara discovers the Object, a meteor whose trajectory will bring it within range of the Peerless, she sees a risky solution to the fuel crisis. Meanwhile, the biologist Carlo searches for a better way to control fertility, despite the traditions and prejudices of their society. As the scientists clash with the ship’s leaders, they find themselves caught up in two equally dangerous revolutions: one in the sexual roles of their species, the other in their very understanding of the nature of matter and energy.
The Eternal Flame lights up the mind with dazzling new frontiers of physics and biology, as only Greg Egan could imagine them.
Next up, a YA SFF version of the Minos & Minotaur myth:
In The White Oak, the first book in the Imperfect Darkness series, Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole and enters the underworld still alive. Her living presence threatens the tyrannical rule of Minos and the infernal judges who have hijacked the afterlife and rebuilt it, trapping human souls in a mechanical, computer-controlled city that lies at the core of the earth. To survive, Cora must rely on her untrustworthy guide, Minotaur, an artificial intelligence built by Minos. She is helped by a mysterious voice, and by Sybil, underworld librarian and author of each person’s book of life. Sybil’s collection holds the key to humankind’s intertwined life stories. When Cora’s own book is destroyed, Sybil gives her a magical golden pen and sends her to the underworld city to write her own destiny. Along the way, Cora finds the ghost of her dead brother, Lucas, a genius programmer who alone is capable of finding the chink in Minos’s armor. But will he be able to get Cora out alive, or will they both succumb to the seemingly inescapable underworld trap?
And that’s it from us! What books do you have on YOUR radar?