sábado, 28 de marzo de 2015

Novedad: A Quantum Mythology, de Gavin Smith

Ya está a la venta A Quantum Mythology, una nueva novela de space opera de Gavin Smith. Ésta es su sinopsis:
Praised by Stephen Baxter and Adam Roberts, reviewed ecstatically by SFX magazine, Gavin Smith is one of the brightest stars of space opera.

In the far future, many years after the loss of earth, humanity has changed. Strength is the only way to survive. And the most vicious man alive has a new con in mind...

Here and now, a man with unnatural powers hunts down a killer with impossible abilities. Infused with a barely-understood alien technology, the two are merely pawns in a bigger game...

A long time ago, the last tribes of Northern Britain face an unimaginable enemy. Demons risen from the sea, absorbing and twisting everything they touch. But there are some among the tribes who have power, who will fight...

And all of these times are connected...

Gavin Smith's new epic space opera is a wide-ranging exploration of the past, present and future of mankind.

viernes, 27 de marzo de 2015

Portada y contenidos de The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, de Ken Liu

Se acaban de revelar la portada y contenidos de The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, la colección de relatos de Ken Liu que Saga Press publicará en noviembre de este año.

Los cuentos escogidos, entre los que se encuentran muchas de las mejores obras de Liu así como una historia nueva, son (he enlazado aquellos que están disponibles online de forma gratuita):

Contenidos de The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, de Rich Horton

Se han anunciado los contenidos de la antología The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2015, de Rich Horton. Los relatos incluidos, con enlaces a versiones gratuitas cuando están disponibles, son los siguientes:

jueves, 26 de marzo de 2015

Ebook gratuito: The Egg Said Nothing, de Caris O'Malley

En estos momentos se puede descargar gratuitamente de Amazon España el ebook The Egg Said Nothing, de Caris O'Malley, publicado por Eraserhead Press en su colección New Bizarro.

Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:
Meet Manny. He's your average shut-in with a penchant for late night television and looting local fountains for coins. With eight locks on his door and newspapers covering his windows, he's more than a bit paranoid, too. 
His wasn't a great life, but it was comfortable--at least it was until the morning he awoke with an egg between his legs. But what might have been a curse becomes a charm as this unlikely event leads him to an all night diner, where he finds inedible pie, undrinkable coffee, and the girl of his dreams. 
But can this unexpected chance at love survive after the egg cracks and time itself turns against him, dead-set on rerouting history and putting a shovel to the face of the one person who could bring real and lasting change to Manny's world?

Tres cómics: Henshin, Criminal y Trees

Banda sonora de la reseña: Sugiero leer esta reseña escuchando The Trees They Do Grow High, en la versión de Joan Baez (Spotify, YouTube).

Ya estoy de vuelta con otras tres reseñas cortas de cómics. En esta ocasión, la tres novelas gráficas de las que quiero hablar (Henshin, Criminal Vol. 1 y Trees Vol. 1) han sido, todas ellas, publicadas por Image Comics, la favorita de Sense of Wonder. Pero, a pesar de compartir editorial, los libros no podrían ser más diferentes entre sí.

Henshin, escrito e ilustrado por Ken Niimura, es un cómic muy extraño. Muy extraño de verdad. De hecho, si no hubiera sido por la recomendación de mi buen amigo Alexander Páez, nunca me habría interesado en él. He leído muy pocos mangas y ninguno me ha gustado demasiado, ya que me resulta difícil entender las referencias culturales japonesas (especialmente su humor) y, por tanto, no soy capaz de entrar en las historias. En este caso, ha sido incluso peor. El libro está compuesto de trece historietas independientes pero ligeramente relacionadas que tratan temas tan poco habituales como la caca de gato.

Algunas de las historias me han gustado más que otras. Por ejemplo, disfruté bastante la del padre y el hijo que tienen poderes telequinéticos. Además, hay algunas metáforas que realmente llaman la atención. La alienación de vivir en un país extranjero, con un idioma diferente y una cultura extraña, por ejemplo, está representada de varias e interesantes formas. Pero debo confesar que fui incapaz (y esto bien puede ser debido a mis limitaciones como lector) de apreciar el significado del cómic en su conjunto. Me sentí totalmente desconcertado mientras lo leía y me sigo sintiendo desconcertado días después de haberlo leído.

Criminal, escrito por Ed Brubaker con dibujo de Sean Phillips, es una obra completamente diferente. Aquí nos encontramos a Brubaker haciendo aquello que Brubaker hace mejor: escribir historias policiacas. Este volumen, que recoge los números del 1 al 5, tiene todos los clichés del género negro. Policías corruptos, grandes robos, drogadictos, crueles mafiosos, asesinatos, secuestros... todo lo que se os pueda ocurrir. La trama es muy sólida (aunque no especialmente original) y los personajes están bien desarrollados (aunque no son especialmente agradables). Si os gustan las novelas negras, necesitáis leer este cómic (además, es auto-contenido, lo que siempre es un plus al hablar de cómics). Lo recomiendo, aunque no estoy seguro de que vaya a leer los siguientes volúmenes ya que prefiero las historias con un carácter mucho más especulativo.

Y por eso por lo que Trees, con guión de Warren Ellis y dibujos de Jason Howard, es el cómic que más me gustado de esta tanda. La premisa es excelente: algunos años atrás, unas estructuras alienígenas gigantescas conocidas como árboles aparecieron en distintos lugares de nuestro planeta. Esto misteriosos artefactos tienen extrañas propiedades y desafían cualquier intento de explicación. Y, lo que es peor, a sus constructores no parecen interesarles nada los humanos y ni siquiera han intentado comunicarse con nosotros.


Trees explora, a través de varias subtramas paralelas, la naturaleza de estos objetos extraterrestres y cómo han afectado y cambiado la vida de la gente que vive a su alrededor. Este tipo de enfoque es más cercano a lo que solemos encontrar en la ciencia ficción literaria que a lo que es habitual en los cómics y, de hecho, me recordó a novelas como Los cronolitos, de Robert Charles Wilson. Mi única pega es que la relevancia de algunas de las subtramas, después de leer ocho números, aún no se ha revelado, pero he disfrutado mucho con este primer volumen y espero con ganas la oportunidad de leer el siguiente.

En resumen, recomiendo totalmente Criminal a los fans de la novela negra y Trees a los fans de la ciencia ficción. Henshin, por otro lado, es un libro tan extraño que sólo os lo puedo recomendar si estáis buscando algo completamente diferente a lo habitual y no os asusta terminar de leerlo sin saber por qué la caca de gato era tan importante después de todo. Luego no digáis que no os he avisado.

Three comic-books: Henshin, Criminal and Trees

(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)

Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to The Trees They Do Grow High, in the version performed by Joan Baez (Spotify, YouTube).

I'm back with three more short reviews of comic-books. In this occasion, the three graphic novels I want to talk about (Henshin, Criminal Vol. 1 and Trees Vol. 1) have all been published by Sense of Wonder favorite Image Comics. But, despite sharing publisher, the books couldn't be more different one from another. 

Henshin, written and illustrated by Ken Niimura, is a very strange comic-book. Very strange indeed. In fact, had not been for the recommendation of my good friend Alexander Páez, I wouldn't have been interested in it. I have read only a few mangas here and there, never enjoying them much since I find it very difficult to understand the Japanese cultural references (especially the humor) and to get into the stories. In this case, it was even worse. The book is composed of thirteen independent but loosely related vignettes that deal with topics so unusual as cat poop. 

Some of the stories interested me more than others. For instance, I quite enjoyed the one about the father and son with telekinetic powers. Also, there are various metaphors that really stand out. The alienation of living in a foreign country, with a different language and a strange culture, for example, is represented in a number of interesting ways. But I must confess that I was unable (and this may very well caused by my many limitations as a reader) to appreciate the meaning of the comic-book as a whole. I was completely baffled while reading it and I'm still baffled days after finishing it. 

Criminal, written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips, is another beast entirely. Here, we find Brubaker doing what Brubaker does best: writing crime fiction. This volume, that collects issues 1 through 5, has all the clichés of the noir genre. Corrupt cops, heists, drug addicts, cruel mob bosses, murders, kidnapping - you name it. The plot is very solid (although not especially original) and the characters are well-developed (although not especially sympathetic). If you are into crime fiction, you really need to read this graphic novel (it is self-contained, something is always a plus with comic-books). I recommend it, although I'm not sure I'll be reading the next volumes since I'd rather read stories with a more speculative edge. 

And that is why Trees, written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Jason Howard, is the comic-book I've liked the most in this lot. Its premise is excellent: some years ago, gigantic alien structures know as trees appeared at different locations of our planet. These mysterious artifacts have strange properties and defy all explanations. And, what is worse, their builders seem to care nothing for us human beings and have not even tried to communicate with us. 

Trees explore, by means of several parallel subplots, the nature of these alien objects and how they have affected and changed the people that live near them. This approach is more akin to what we usually in literary science fiction than in comics, and in fact reminded me of novels such as The Chronoliths, by Robert Charles Wilson. My only complain is that the relevance of some of the subplots, after eight issues, remains yet to be revealed, but I really did enjoy this first volume and I am really looking forward to reading the next installment. 

All in all, I strongly recommend Criminal to crime fiction fans and Trees to science fiction fans. Henshin, on the other hand, is so weird a book that I would only recommend it if you're looking for something completely different and are not afraid of finishing the book without understanding why cat poop is so important after all. You've been warned.    

miércoles, 25 de marzo de 2015

Novedad: The Lazarus War, de Jamie Sawyer

Ayer se puso a la venta Artefact, de Jamie Sawyer, primera entrega de la serie The Lazarus War. Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:
Artefact is book one of The Lazarus War, an explosive new space adventure series from one of the brightest new stars in science fiction - perfect for fans of The Edge of Tomorrow, Alien and James S. A. Corey's Expanse series.

Jack Campbell, author of the Lost Fleet novels calls it 'a gripping read that moves at warp speed.'

Mankind has spread to the stars, only to become locked in warfare with an insidious alien race. All that stands against the alien menace are the soldiers of the Simulant Operation Programme, an elite military team remotely operating avatars in the most dangerous theatres of war.

Captain Conrad Harris has died hundreds of times - running suicide missions in simulant bodies. Known as Lazarus, he is a man addicted to death. So when a secret research station deep in alien territory suddenly goes dark, there is no other man who could possibly lead a rescue mission.

But Harris hasn't been trained for what he's about to find. And this time, he may not be coming back . . .

Artefact is an action-drenched tale of elite space marines, deep space exploration and galactic empires. Discover The Lazarus War - the thrilling new space opera series from one of the most exciting new voices in science fiction.