Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Superfluity of Neat Stuff

Somehow, I didn't expect the early months of 2010 to be filled with so many good books deserving my attention as a reviewer. In last week's column, I covered three recent science fiction/fantasy releases, including Peter Straub's "A Dark Matter," "Things We Didn't See Coming" by Steven Amsterdam and Barbara Roden's "Northwest Passages."

Straub's "A Dark Matter," scheduled to arrive in stores on Feb. 9, is the best of the bunch. A tricky tale of five high school friends revisiting a terrible event that occurred 40 years earlier, it's Straub's first novel since 2004's "In the Night Room," continuing his long string of literate and ambitious supernatural thrillers. You can watch book trailer/teaser above.

With that column behind me, I thought I would have a little breathing room, but that's not the case. February brings horror/fantasy novels by two heavy-hitters in the field, Owen Hill's "Horns" and Dan Simmons' "Black Hills." Not to mention two new books by Michael Shea: "The Extra" from Tor and "Copping Squid" from Perilous Press. Plus, "Blackout," the first half of Connie Willis's World War II time-travel epic, is due any day now and really ought to be considered. Charlie Huston's "Sleepless" occupies the borderlands between science fiction and crime, so it, too, is tempting to throw into the mix.

Finally, in March Tor will publish "Not Less Than Gods," Kage Baker's latest book about The Company. Baker is one of my favorite authors, and a new novel from her would normally be a cause for unalloyed celebration. She is, however, near the end of her struggle with cancer.

Which puts the problem of having too many good novels to read into perspective, doesn't it?

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