A pretty quiet week in new hardcovers leading into the holidays, including a tale of vampires and psychic Jews, aliens playing games with the human race, the posthuman madness of an artificially created supergenius, a young witch at a boarding school, and, of course, Batman. Plus: Magic realism in the works of Salman Rushdie. Have you noticed that the academics have really been going to town with the the whole sci-fi/fantasy secondary literature lately?
Newly released hardcovers in sci-fi and fantasy this week include:
- A True Son of Asmodeus by Zvi Zaks,
- Beta Test by Eric Griffith,
- Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright,
- Legacy by Molly Cochran,
- Tales of the Batman: Don Newton by Various,
- Exploring Magic Realism in Salman Rushdie's Fiction by Ursula Kluwick, and
- Theatre of Curious Acts by Cate Gardner.
A True Son of Asmodeus by Zvi Zaks
"As a boy, Dr. Eli Rothenberg's apparent psychic gifts created such conflict in his family, he dedicated himself to a strictly rational and scientific outlook. Now completing his medical residency, Eli is deeply shaken by the attempted suicide of his mentor and begins to re-evaluate his life choices and his feelings toward his Jewish heritage. Eli is introduced not only to a community of deeply religious orthodox Jews, but to a wider circle of gifted individuals united to fight spiritual evil. He learns that his youthful psychic gifts have a far deeper significance than he could have imagined. Eli's new disciplines and intense training take him to Israel, and finally to the ruins of Auschwitz, where he will face the ancient evil at the root of vampirism and millennia of human suffering." By Light Unseen Media, 292 pages, Dec 19.
Beta Test by Eric Griffith
"Sam Terra is having a bad week. He lost Molly, the woman he secretly loves, when she vanished before his eyes at the exact same time that ten percent of the inhabitants of Earth disappeared. Naturally upset, Sam follows clues about the global vanishing with questionable help from his friends including a misanthropic co-worker and a childhood pal. When Molly reappears in the body of a man during a night of monster-laden devastation, Sam finally learns the truth. Not just about her, but about the planet Earth and the entire cosmos surrounding it. What we consider mundane reality, others consider a game . . . and not a very good one. The whole thing is about to be shut down." Hadley Rille Books, 278 pages, Dec 20.
Count to a Trillion by John C. Wright
"Hundreds of years in the future, after the collapse of the Western world, young Menelaus Illation Montrose grows up in what was once Texas as a gunslinging duelist for hire. But Montrose is also a mathematical genius-and a romantic who dreams of a future in which humanity rises from the ashes to take its place among the stars. The chance to help usher in that future comes when Montrose is recruited for a manned interstellar mission to investigate an artifact of alien origin. Known as the Monument, the artifact is inscribed with data so complex, only a posthuman mind can decipher it. So Montrose does the unthinkable: he injects himself with a dangerous biochemical drug designed to boost his already formidable intellect to superhuman intelligence. It drives him mad. Nearly two centuries later, his sanity restored, Montrose is awakened from cryo-suspension with no memory of his posthuman actions, to find Earth transformed in strange and disturbing ways, and learns that the Monument still carries a secret he must decode-one that will define humanity's true future in the universe." Tor Books, 368 pages, Dec 20.
Legacy by Molly Cochran
"When her widowed father dumps 16-year-old Katy Jessevar in a boarding school in Whitfield, Massachusetts, she has no idea that fate has just opened the door to both her future and her past. Nearly everyone in Whitfield is a witch, as is Katy herself, although she has struggled all her life to hide her unusual talents. Stuck at a boarding school where her fellow studens seem to despise her, Katy soon discovers that Whitfield is the place where her mother commited suicide under mysterious circumstances when Katy was just a small child. With dark forces converging on Whitfield, it's up to Katy to unravel her family's many secrets to save the boy she loves and the town itself from destruction." Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 432 pages, Dec 20.
Tales of the Batman: Don Newton by Various
"For the first time, DC Comics collects the moody Batman stories drawn by comics legend Don Newton! In these tales, Batman revisits the site of his origin story in "The Curse of Crime Alley," takes on Maxie Zeus, a crime lord who believes himself to be a god, and wages an epic war on the League of Assassins." DC Comics, 360 pages, Dec 20.
Exploring Magic Realism in Salman Rushdie's Fiction by Ursula Kluwick
Routledge Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature. "Kluwick breaks new ground in this book, moving away from Rushdie studies that focus on his status as postcolonial or postmodern, and instead considering the significance of magic realism in his fiction. Rushdie's magic realism, in fact, lies at the heart of his engagement with the post/colonial. In a departure from conventional descriptions of magic realism-based primarily on the Latin-American tradition-Kluwick here proposes an alternative definition, allowing for a more accurate description of the form. She argues that it is disharmony, rather than harmony, that is decisive: that the incompatibility of the realist and the supernatural needs to be recognized as a driving force in Rushdie's fiction." Routledge, 256 pages, Dec 21.
Theatre of Curious Acts by Cate Gardner
"Returned home from the Great War, his parents and brother in their graves, Daniel walks a ghost world. When players in a theatre show lure Daniel and his friends, fellow soldiers, into a surreal otherworld they find themselves trapped on an apocalyptic path. A pirate ship waits to ferry some of them to the end of the world, helmed by Death. Already broken by war, these men are now the world's only hope in the greatest battle of all." Hadley Rille Books, 182 pages, Dec 21.