Books Received, October 30 — November 5
Rosebud by Paul Cornell
A multilayered, locked-room science fiction novella from Paul Cornell in which five digital beings unravel their existences to discover the truth of their humanity.“The crew of the Rosebud are, currently, and by force of law, a balloon, a goth with a swagger stick, some sort of science aristocrat possibly, a ball of hands, and a swarm of insects.”When five sentient digital beings — condemned for over three hundred years to crew the small survey ship by the all-powerful Company — encounter a mysterious black sphere, their course of action is clear: obtain the object, inform the Company, earn lots of praise.But the ship malfunctions, and the crew has no choice but to approach the sphere and survey it themselves. They have no idea that this object — and the transcendent truth hidden within — will change the fate of all existence, the Company, and themselves.
Rise of the Mages by Scott Drakeford
Scott Drakeford’s epic fantasy debut, Rise of the Mages combines gripping, personal vengeance with compelling characters for an action packed first book in a trilogy.Emrael Ire wants nothing more than to test to be a weapons master. His final exam will be a bloody insurrection, staged by corrupt nobles and priests, that enslaves his brother.With the aid of his War Master tutor, herself an undercover mage, Emrael discovers his own latent and powerful talents.To rescue his brother, Emrael must embrace not only his abilities as a warrior but also his place as last of the ancient Mage Kings — for the Fallen God has returned.And he is hungry.
The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars by Simon Morden
The history of Mars is drawn not just on its surface, but also down into its broken bedrock and up into its frigid air. Most of all, it stretches back into deep time, where the trackways of the past have been obliterated by later events, and there is no discernible trace of where they started from or how they travelled, only where they ended up. As NASA lays its plans for a return to the moon and, from there, a manned mission to Mars, there has never been a better time to acquaint ourselves with the dramatic history and astonishing present of the red planet. Planetary geologist, geophysicist and acclaimed SF author Dr Simon Morden takes us on a vivid guided tour of Mars. From its formation four and half billion years ago, through an era of cataclysmic meteor strikes and the millions of years during which a vast ocean spanned its entire upper hemisphere, to the long, frozen ages that saw its atmosphere steadily thinning and leaking away into space, Morden presents a tantalising vision of the next planet we will visit. Written with storytelling flair, and piecing together the latest research, data, theories and informed speculation, The Red Planet is as close as we can get to an eye-witness account of this incredible place.
The Shadow of the Empire by Xiaolong Qiu
The legendary Judge Dee Renjie investigates a high-profile murder case in this intriguing companion novel to Inspector Chen and the Private Kitchen Murder set in seventh-century China. Judge Dee Renjie, Empress Wu’s newly appointed Imperial Circuit Supervisor for the Tang Empire, is visiting provinces surrounding the grand capital of Chang’an. One night a knife is thrown through his window with a cryptic note attached: ‘A high-flying dragon will have something to regret!’ Minutes after the ominous warning appears, Judge Dee is approached by an emissary of Internal Minister Wu, Empress Wu’s nephew. Minister Wu wants Judge Dee to investigate a high-profile murder supposedly committed by the well-known poetess and courtesan, Xuanji, who locals believe is possessed by the spirit of a black fox. Why is Minister Wu interested in Xuanji? Despite Xuanji confessing to the murder, is there more to the case than first appears? With the mysterious warning and a fierce power struggle playing out at the imperial court, Judge Dee knows he must tread carefully …
Mao, Vol. 2 by Rumiko Takahashi
Nanoka, Mao, and his helper Otoya investigate the strange cult of Priestess Shoko in hopes of bringing her to justice, but cursed dolls and scrolls of eternal life may be more than they bargained for. Will the priestess’s doomsday prophecy come true? Back in the present, Nanoka and friend-zoned Shiraha do some historical research that uncovers a cataclysmic event yet to occur in Mao’s timeline. Then Mao’s curiosity gets him on the wrong side of a group of bloodsuckers and in need of a rescue by Nanoka — again!
The Village of Eight Graves by Seishi Yokomizo
The third title in Japan’s most popular murder mystery series — after The Honjin Murders and The Inugami Curse — fiendish classics featuring investigator Kosuke Kindaichi. Translated into English for the first time. Nestled deep in the mist-shrouded mountains, The Village of Eight Graves takes its name from a bloody legend: in the Sixteenth Century eight samurais, who had taken refuge there along with a secret treasure, were murdered by the inhabitants, bringing a terrible curse down upon their village. Centuries later a mysterious young man named Tatsuya arrives in town, bringing a spate of deadly poisonings in his wake. The inimitably scruffy and brilliant Kosuke Kindaichi investigates.