New Poll: What to read next???

I'm done with Guy Gavriel Kay's amazing Under Heaven (Canada, USA, Europe), which I believe will be the best speculative fiction novel of 2010. Expect my review and the next few days. But I doubt there will be a better book released this year, no matter how great Steven Erikson's The Crippled God and George R. R. Martin's A Dance With Dragons turn out to be (if they see the light before the year is out). Kay's Under Heaven is the author's best work to date. . .

And I'm now a third into David Louis Edelman's Geosynchron (Canada, USA, Europe), which looks to be another winner!

Because of prior commitments that were screwed a bit by my going to Southeast Asia for over a month, the next titles in the batting order will be Blake Charlton's Spellwright (Canada, USA, Europe), as well as Jasper Kent's Thirteen Years Later (Canada, USA, Europe). And since I don't figure I'll be able to exert any self-control, I'll probably go through Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Canada, USA, Europe) in no time!

God knows my "Books to read" pile isn't growing any shorter, but I was wondering how much interest there is for these titles? Which one would you prefer to see me read and review?

Here are the nominees:

- Leviathan Wept and Other Stories by Daniel Abraham (Canada, USA, Europe, and Subpress)

What if you had a holocaust and nobody came?

Imagine a father who has sent his child’s soul voyaging and seen it go astray. Or a backyard tale from the 1001 American Nights. Macbeth re-imagined as a screwball comedy. Three extraordinary economic tasks performed by a small expert in currency exchange that risk first career and then life and then soul.

From the disturbing beauty of “Flat Diane” (Nebula-nominee, International Horror Guild award-winner) to the idiosyncratic vision of “The Cambist and Lord Iron” (Hugo- and World Fantasy-nominee), Daniel Abraham has been writing some of the most enjoyable and widely admired short fiction in the genre for over a decade.

Ranging from high fantasy to hard science fiction, screwball comedy to gut-punching tragedy, Daniel Abraham’s stories never fail to be intelligent, compassionate, thoughtful, and humane. Leviathan Wept and Other Stories is the first collection of his short works, including selections from both the well-known and the rare.

- Blackout by Connie Willis (Canada, USA, Europe)

In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds—great and small—of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collide—and the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place. Scores of time-traveling historians are being sent into the past, to destinations including the American Civil War and the attack on the World Trade Center. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser, Mr. Dunworthy, into letting her go to VE Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz. And seventeen-year-old Colin Templer, who has a major crush on Polly, is determined to go to the Crusades so that he can “catch up” to her in age.

But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments for no apparent reason and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, unexploded bombs, dive-bombing Stukas, rationing, shrapnel, V-1s, and two of the most incorrigible children in all of history—to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.

From the people sheltering in the tube stations of London to the retired sailors who set off across the Channel to rescue the stranded British Army from Dunkirk, from shopgirls to ambulance drivers, from spies to hospital nurses to Shakespearean actors, Blackout reveals a side of World War II seldom seen before: a dangerous, desperate world in which there are no civilians and in which everybody—from the Queen down to the lowliest barmaid—is determined to do their bit to help a beleaguered nation survive.

- Sleepless by Charlie Huston (Canada, USA, Europe)

From bestselling author Charlie Huston comes a novel about the fears that find us all during dark times and the courage and sacrifice that can save us in the face of unimaginable odds. Gripping, unnerving, exhilarating, and haunting, Sleepless is well worth staying up for.

What former philosophy student Parker Hass wanted was a better world. A world both just and safe for his wife and infant daughter. So he joined the LAPD and tried to make it that way. But the world changed. Struck by waves of chaos carried in on a tide of insomnia. A plague of sleeplessness.

Park can sleep, but he is wide awake. And as much as he wishes he was dreaming, his eyes are open. He has no choice but to see it all. That's his job. Working undercover as a drug dealer in a Los Angeles ruled in equal parts by martial law and insurgency, he's tasked with cutting off illegal trade in Dreamer, the only drug that can give the infected what they most crave: sleep.

After a year of lost leads and false trails, Park stumbles into the perilous shadows cast by the pharmaceuticals giant behind Dreamer. Somewhere in those shadows, at the nexus of disease and drugs and money, a secret is hiding. Drawn into the inner circle of a tech guru with a warped agenda and a special use for the sleepless themselves, Park thinks he knows what that secret might be.

To know for certain, he will have to go deeper into the restless world. His wife has become sleepless, and their daughter may soon share the same fate. For them, he will risk what they need most from him: his belief that justice must be served. Unknown to him, his choice ties all of their futures to the singularly deadly nature of an aging mercenary who stalks Park.

The deeper Park stumbles through the dark, the more he is convinced that it is obscuring the real world. Bring enough light and the shadows will retreat. Bring enough light and everyone will see themselves again. Bring enough light and he will find his way to the safe corner, the harbor he's promised his family. Whatever the cost to himself.

It is July 2010.

The future is coming.

Open your eyes.

- The Passage by Justin Cronin (Canada, USA, Europe)

'It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born.'

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear - of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he's done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey - spanning miles and decades - towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

- Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes (Canada, Europe)

Lenk can barely keep control of his mismatched adventurer band at the best of times (Gariath the dragon man sees humans as little more than prey, Kataria the shict despises most humans and the humans in the band are little better). When they're not insulting each other's religions they're arguing about pay and conditions. So when the ship they are travelling on is attacked by pirates things don't go very well. They go a whole lot worse when an invincible demon joins the fray. The demon steals the Tome of the Undergates - a manuscript that contains all you need to open the undergates. And whichever god you believe in you don't want the undergates open. On the other side are countless more invincible demons, the manifestation of all the evil of the gods, and they want out. Full of razor-sharp wit, characters who leap off the page (and into trouble) and plunging the reader into a vivid world of adventure this is a fantasy that kicks off a series that could dominate the second decade of the century.

16 commentaires:

Brooke Reviews said...

Wow, the cover for Leviathan Wept is gorgeous! I'd pick that one just based off that. lol

Anonymous said...

Blackout sounds fascinating. The rest seem really generic.

Kelsey said...

I agree with Brooke about the cover for Leviathan Wept, but Sleepless sounds the most interesting to me.

brainshades said...

Avoid the Connie Willis - it's tedious and repetitive. Lots of people are complaining about the sudden split of the storyline into two books, but I think experienced genre readers are far too used to seeing that these days for it to play a role in reading or not reading a book.

The issues I have with it are simply that even though her character studies and development are incredible, the real problem with the book is that the same thing happens to multiple viewpoint characters in the early chapters, over and over again... I began to not care what happened to them anymore and it totally destroyed my focus with the story.

I had similar issues with "To Say Nothing of the Dog", which I also could not finish. I wish that were not the case as I loved "Doomsday Book" and have reread it at least once since it's initial publication.

I think the good pub this book has gotten so far is based a great deal on Connie's reputation. Which is fair as again, her skill shows in the characters, plot and the detailed historical analysis that was obviously done to write the story - but that's not enough to make me want to finish reading a dull book.

Unknown said...

Tomes is the only one on the list that sounds like anything I would consider reading.

Dovile said...

I'd recommend Blackout, but it ends in a cliff hanger, and the story will be finished in a second book wich is to be published later this year, I think.

Droidprogrammer said...

I read Blackout, and am eagerly awaiting part two. Fantastic Read. I would suggest either Blackout or The Passage to read next. I am definitely intrigued by The Passage.

D-man said...

Glad to hear you loved Under Heaven! Can't wait to read it!

I'd go with Leviathan Wept or The Passage.

Dream Girlzzz said...

I seem to recall that Wert wasn't very impressed with Tome of the Undergates...

The Dude said...

Sleepless seems to have the most interesting concept.

The Passage reminds me of Stephen King's The Stand

ediFanoB said...

I can't decide between Blackout and The Passage.
Finally I voted for the Passage - very promising.
Anyway both books are on my radar:)

JamesY said...

All authors I have't tried. Based on reviews of his other work I would go for Daniel Abraham's Leviathan Wept. Here's hoping the poll results come out in favour also.

Herbefol said...

I've only read Blackout, but I think that would be a good choice. Willis is still as good a writer & storyteller as in To say nothing of the dog & The doomsday book. :-)

Reuben said...

My vote is for Leviathan Wept

Anonymous said...

Weren't you supposed to read the "Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series" from Fritz leiber a few years ago??

Anonymous said...

Have you read all of Kay's work?