sábado, 31 de mayo de 2014

Novedad: The Law & the Heart, de Kenneth Schneyer

Ya se puede adquirir la colección de relatos The Law & the Heart de Kenneth Schneyer, autor de la excelente "Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer". Estas son las historias incluidas en el libro:

  • THE LAW:
    • Conflagration
    • I Have Read the Terms of Use
    • Grapple With Thee
    • Half a Degree
    • The Whole Truth Witness
    • Exceptionalism
    • Life of the Author Plus Seventy
    • Liza's Home
    • The Orpheus Fountain
    • Keeping Tabs
    • Hear the Enemy, My Daughter
    • The Tortoise Parliament
    • Tenure Track

viernes, 30 de mayo de 2014

Ebook en oferta: The Bone Season, de Samantha Shannon

Gracias a un aviso de mi buen amigo Miquel Codony, me entero de que The Bone Season de Samantha Shannon (recientemente publicada en nuestro país como La era de huesos por Fantascy) se encuentra de oferta en formato digital en varias tiendas online. Por ejemplo, en Amazon se puede adquirir por 1,29€ y en Kobo por 1,51€ (aunque se pueden usar cupones para descontar aún más el precio).

Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing. 
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die. 
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Novedad: Skin Game, de Jim Butcher

Ya está a la venta Skin Game, el decimo quinto libro de la saga de Harry Dresden de Jim Butcher. Si os interesa, podéis leer un extracto en la página del autor.

Ésta es la sinopsis de la novela:
Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day…. 
Because as Winter Knight to the Queen of Air and Darkness, Harry never knows what the scheming Mab might want him to do. Usually, it’s something awful. 
He doesn’t know the half of it…. 
Mab has just traded Harry’s skills to pay off one of her debts. And now he must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can then access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever. 
It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character. Worse, Dresden suspects that there is another game afoot that no one is talking about. And he’s dead certain that Nicodemus has no intention of allowing any of his crew to survive the experience. Especially Harry. 
Dresden’s always been tricky, but he’s going to have to up his backstabbing game to survive this mess—assuming his own allies don’t end up killing him before his enemies get the chance….

jueves, 29 de mayo de 2014

Ebook en oferta: Hollow World, de Michael J. Sullivan

Gracias a Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, me entero de que en estos momentos se puede adquirir la novela Hollow World, de Michael J. Sullivan, en formato electrónico en Amazon por sólo 0,89€. Ésta es su sinopsis:
Ellis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when diagnosed with a terminal illness, he's willing to take an insane gamble. He's built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he'll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. Ellis could find more than a cure for his disease; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began -- but only if he can survive the Hollow World. 
Welcome to the future and a new science fiction thriller from the bestselling author of the Riyria Revelations and the Riyria Chronicles. Sullivan's novels have been translated into fifteen foreign languages, and have been selected for more than ninety best of the year or most anticipated lists, including those compiled by Library Journal, Barnes & Noble.com, and Goodreads.  

Ebook en oferta: After the End: Recent Apocalypses, antología de Paula Guran

La oferta del día de hoy en Weightless Books es la antología After the End: Recent Apocalypses, de Paula Guran, que se puede adquirir en formato electrónico por 1,99$. Su sinopsis y contenidos son los siguientes:
From the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh to Norse prophecies of Ragnarök to the Revelations of Saint John to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, any number of fictional zombie Armageddons, and the dystopic world of The Hunger Games, we have always wondered what will happen after the world as we know it ends. No matter what the doomsday scenario—cataclysmic climate change, political chaos, societal collapse, nuclear war, pestilence, or so many other dreaded variations—we inevitably believe that even though the world perishes, some portion of humankind will live on. Such stories involve death and disaster, but they are also tales of rebirth and survival. Grim or triumphant, these outstanding post-apocalyptic stories selected from selected from the best of those published in the tumultuous last decade allow us to consider what life will be like after the end. 
• Paolo Bacigalupi, “Pump Six”
• Kage Baker, “The Books”
• Lauren Beukes, “Chislehurst Messiah”
• Blake Butler, “The Disappeared”
• Cory Doctorow, “Beat Me Daddy (Eight to the Bar)”
• Brian Evenson, “The Adjudicator”
• Steven Gould, “A Story, with Beans”
• Margo Lanagan, “The Fifth Star In the Southern Cross”
• Livia Llewellyn, “Horses”
• M.J. Locke, “True North”
• John Mantooth, “The Cecilia Paradox”
• Maureen McHugh, “After the Apocalypse”
• Simon Morden, “Never, Never, Three Times Never”
• Nnedi Okorafor, “Tumaki”
• Paul Park, “Ragnarok”
• Mary Rosenblum, “The Egg Man”
• John Shirley, “Isolation Point, California”
• Bruce Sterling, “Goddess of Mercy”
• Paul Tremblay, “We Will Never Live in the Castle”
• Carrie Vaughn, “Amaryllis”

Veil of the Deserters, by Jeff Salyards

(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 Behind The Veil by Dream Theater (Spotify, Youtube).

It had happened to me with Scourge of the Betrayer and it happened again while reading Veil of the Deserters: this is not the kind of book that I usually like, but I found myself enjoying it quite a lot. Jeff Salyards's prose, sense of mystery and fantastic character development made me read page after page once again. In fact, I dare to say that, with only one exception (more on this later), Veil of the Deserters is superior to Scourge of the Betrayer in every respect.

In fact, the plot is more interesting and there are much more things happening (lots of action scenes and battles, yay!); the new feminine characters (Soffjan and Skeelana) are an excellent counterpoint to the hardened Syldoon soldiers; the importance of the Bloodsounder is much more prominent; the worldbuilding is more rounded and the pieces of puzzle are, slowly, beginning to fit one with another. Also, the book ends with a cliffhanger that will have the reader impatiently waiting for the next installment.

One of the most attractive elements of the novel is the development of Arkamondos, the main protagonist. He will have to face dire situations and to decide where his loyalties lie, and this will change it completely. In fact, one could even argue that there is something of bildungsroman in the book because of that.

In addition to all this, Veil of the Deserters has everything that made Scourge of the Betrayer such a remarkable book. Witty dialog, fleshed-out characters, vivid battle scenes, intrigue, treason and difficult moral conflicts. Salyards more than successfully manages to overcome the Second Book Syndrome, raising the stakes for the final novel of the trilogy.     

My only problem with Veil of the Deserters is that it is far too long (almost 70% longer than Scourge of the Betrayer was). Although, as I mentioned above, there is a lot going on in the book and most of the scenes are needed either for advancing the plot or revealing details that are used later, I cannot help feeling that some of them couldn't have been trimmed, making the novel even better. I am thinking, specifically, of certain moments when Arkamondos talks with the soldiers about their past. They might prove important in the following novel, but when reading them my impression was that the pace dragged unnecessarily.

Despite this problem, Veil of the Deserters is a solid, entertaining and well-written book that I recommend to every fantasy reader out there. I am really looking forward to seeing how Salyards closes this Bloodsounder's Arc, because it may very well become one of the must-read fantasy epics of the twenty-first century.

(You can also read this review in Spanish at El Fantascopio/También puedes leer esta reseña en castellano en El Fantascopio)

miércoles, 28 de mayo de 2014

Portada y sinopsis de The Mirror Empire, de Kameron Hurley

La editorial Angry Robot ha desvelado la portada y sinopsis de The Mirror Empire, la novela de Kameron Hurley que publicarán en septiembre de este año. El libro abre una nueva saga, llamada Worldbreaker, y, personalmente, pienso que tiene un pinta excelente (he conseguido un ARC y pronto podré ofreceros una reseña). Se puede leer un extracto de la novela en Tor.com.

Ésta es la sinopsis:
From the award-winning author of God’s War comes a stunning new series… 
On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.  
In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.
Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself. 

In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.

martes, 27 de mayo de 2014

Novedad: Reach for Infinity, antología de Jonathan Strahan

La editorial británica Solaris ha puesto a la venta la antología Reach for Infinity, con relatos de Greg Egan, Peter Watts, Aliette de Bodard, Pat Cadigan Alastair Reynolds, entre otros, y seleccionada por Jonathan Strahan. Ya he tenido la oportunidad de leerla y, aunque pronto haré una reseña completa, puedo adelantar que me parece una de las mejores antologías de los últimos años. 

Estos son los relatos incluidos:
  • “Break My Fall”, Greg Egan
  • “The Dust Queen”, Aliette de Bodard
  • “The Fifth Dragon”, Ian McDonald
  • “Kheldyu”, Karl Schroeder
  • “Report Concerning The Presence of Seahorses On Mars”, Pat Cadigan
  • “Hiraeth: A Tragedy in Four Acts”, Karen Lord
  • “Amicae Aeternum”, Ellen Klages
  • “Trademark Bugs: A Legal History”, Adam Roberts
  • “Attitude”, Linda Nagata
  • “Invisible Planets”, Hannu Rajaniemi
  • “Wilder Still, the Stars”, Kathleen Ann Goonan
  • “The Entire Immense Superstructure’: An Installation”, Ken Macleod
  • “In Babelsberg”, Alastair Reynolds
  • “Hotshot”, Peter Watts

lunes, 26 de mayo de 2014

The Buried Life, by Carrie Patel (reviewed by Alexander Páez)

Alexander Páez, of the wonderful blog Donde Acaba El Infinito, has been so kind as to let us publish the English translation of his review of The Buried Life, a novel by Carrie Patel that Angry Robot will be publishing this summer. We thank Álex for this opportunity and we wish you enjoy the review.

A good mix of styles is something that I really like to read. I believe that stepping out from our comfort zone is gratifying both for readers and writers and always a blow of fresh air. Lately, I’m being lucky, reading lots of books that push the genre further  or contribute with details of others genres, using them and creating a different and original product.

The Buried Life is more or less that. At first, it appears to be a Steampunk novel (because of the initial setting); later, it becomes post-apocalyptic, because of a cataclysm annihilating the place. The novel also has details from urban fantasy, so we are reading a history full of shades.

Carrie Patel has created the Recoletta city and she show us around by the hand of two main characters: a detective called Liesl Malone and Jane, the laundress. Malone is a hard-boiled detective and she wears black clothes. Not a cliché at all (Salander). And Jane who is all the opposite: kind, with lots of friends, hardworking and honest. Malone has to investigate the murders in the city of some members of the Council. Like it usually happens in noir and crime fiction, the main detective will investigate in a self-reliant way.

Recoletta is a city dominated by the Council, that rules over every entity like factories or local authorities. The Council, of course, controls the capacity of accessing information.

When I was speaking of Steampunk I was talking about some very typical details inside this genre. Society has gone back to a level of technology similar to the one in the Victorian age. There are trains and a subway, but there are no cars - people still use carriages. The fashion and society are also built in a way that reminds of that Steampunk that we all have in mind when we think about its usual definition.

Is it that difficult to leave the clichés of Steampunk aside? Later, the novel will follow other paths (something more post-apocalyptic), but I can’t stop thinking about the little of Steampunk that this boos has: it’s the most common and simple. As though you need to put ghosts in cemeteries in a ghost story or a hero that kills dragons in a fantasy story. I believe that Steampunk can contribute a lot and it’s really versatile, but it seems that so far, few writers dare to play and experiment with it.

Anyway, there is a problem in the novel and it’s that we don’t figure out where we are. We don’t know if it’s a new and alternative world, if it fits in our own planet or if it’s a future version of it. At the end of the novel we will have more details about this question, but I think it would be positive for the reading experience if this data was given before, because it doesn’t do the same effect when showing up so late in the story.

I don’t have many reading obsessions, but one of them is really important and it’s the consistency of the story. I can’t handle stories that ask for suspension of disbelief because I only believe in what I read. If it wasn’t suggested, named or told, and it suddenly appears, for me that’s a bad resource. In The Buried Life there are a couple of scenes just like that, and I suppose they exist just to show how cool detective Malone can be.

In addition to this, the information is given easily and without stressing the reader too much. It’s almost impossible to get lost while reading because we have reminders all along the novel. I would have liked that mysteries were exactly that: mysteries. But, as a reader, I didn’t feel challenged by the author. Not so many things kept me reading the novel, and one of them was the desire to know what happened with that Cataclysm and why it left the civilization in that condition.

The writing is really good. It does have quality and, even though the plot is not the strongest point, I think the descriptions and the way the author writes are surprisingly good. If I’m not mistaken, this is her first novel and it is the beginning of a saga. Patel shows talent for telling stories. Even though the plot and its development are not especially remarkable, the way of telling it is promising and entertaining. For those reasons why I’m going to keep on reading the rest of the saga; an author can evolve a lot between one book and the next.

The illustrations of the novel are really astonishing. I think that the cover is gorgeous and it ’is really attractive. But that is usually the case with all Angry Robot book covers.

The Buried Life is a novel that initiates a promising saga. If the readers get over the 50% of the novel, they will find that the story becomes more and more addictive and they will need to read the next novel. Personally, I hope the next one to have more quality than this one, even though I don’t think it is a bad book, just full of clichés. It is not an original story, but it is entertaining and well written.

domingo, 25 de mayo de 2014

Novedad en Fantascy: La era de huesos, de Samantha Shannon

Se ha puesto a la venta un nuevo título de la colección Fantascy: La era de huesos, de Samantha Shannon. El libro tiene 560 páginas y cuesta 16,90€ en su edición en papel y 7,99€ en formato electrónico. 

Ésta es su sinopsis:

En el año 2059, un siniestro régimen totalitario domina el planeta y los pocos clarividentes son perseguidos por delincuentes. Lo que no saben las masas es que sus dirigentes se han aliado con una fuerza aún más insidiosa, asentada en una ciudad secreta. 
Paige Mahoney, de 19 años, trabaja para una poderosa organización del hampa londinense. Paige es fuerte, rápida y tiene un don excepcional: es capaz de entrar en los pensamientos de los demás. En esta sociedad represiva cualquier acto de espiritismo ya es ilegal. Pero Paige comete alta traición por el simple hecho de respirar. 
En un mundo en el que los sueños están prohibidos, una joven luchará por su libertad, su vida y el futuro de la humanidad.

sábado, 24 de mayo de 2014

Novedad en Fata Libelli: Sic transit, cuentos de fantasmas, de Reggie Oliver

Fata Libelli ha publicado un nuevo título: Sic transit, cuentos de fantasmas, una recopilación de relatos de Reggie Oliver. El libro se puede comprar en formato electrónico sin DRM por 4,90€. Ésta es su sinopsis:

Recopilación de relatos extraños e inquietantes del británico Reggie Oliver, uno de los autores de literatura weird de inspiración clásica más aclamados por crítica y lectores. Su especialidad son las historias de fantasmas herederas de la tradición de M. R. James pero con un toque irónico o humorístico. 
En esta recopilación encontrarás artistas con extrañas obsesiones, colegios que viven bajo la sombra de seres míticos, sucesos inexplicables que se cuelan en la pacífica vida de una familia y mucho más. 
Incluye «Flores marinas», «No tienes nada que temer», «Bill el Sanguinario», «El tigre en la nieve», «El señor Popó» y «Mal de ojo».

viernes, 23 de mayo de 2014

La Biblioteca de La Tercera Fundación alcanza los 50000 libros catalogados

La Biblioteca de La Tercera Fundación, lugar de referencia en todo lo que se refiere a literatura de ciencia ficción, fantasía y terror en castellano y ganadora en los tres últimos años del Premio Ignotus a la mejor página web, ha alcanzado hoy una cifra absolutamente impresionante de libros catalogados: nada más y nada menos que 50000.  

El primer libro incluido en la base de datos, aún en la época en la que La Biblioteca estaba alojada en Cyberdark, fue Neuromante de William Gibson, cuya ficha podéis consultar aquí. Desde entonces han pasado unos cuantos añitos y los bibliotecarios han seguido trabajando día a día hasta catalogar hoy el que hace el número 50000, Ignota, una antología recopilada por Juan de Dios Garduño y publicada por Palabras de Agua que cuenta con relatos de Lauren Beukes, Ian Watson, Lisa Tuttle, Ángel Luis Suicasa y David Mateo, entre otros. Ésta es la flamente y resplandeciente ficha. 

Si queréis conocer más sobre ese estupendo proyecto que es La Biblioteca de La Tercera Fundación os invito a leer la entrevista que tuve con Antonio Guisado (parte 1, parte 2), gran amigo y presidente de Los Conseguidores, asociación que sustenta el proyecto y de la que tengo el honor de ser socio fundador (aunque debo aclarar que yo no participo directamente en La Biblioteca). 

Desde aquí les deseo mis más sincera enhorabuena a todos los bibliotecarios de La Tercera Fundación, les agradezco su increíble trabajo y les deseo que lleguen pronto al libro 100000.  

Novedad en Sportula: Delirios de grandeza, de Santiago García Albás

Sportula ha publicado Delirios de Grandeza, segunda entrega de la serie Cybersiones de Santiago García Albás. El libro tiene 91 páginas y se puede adquirir en formato electrónico sin DRM por 2,68€. Ésta es su sinopsis:
Segundo Premio Alberto Magno 2007. 
Marcos Solarza es, quizá, el mejor vendedor de paquetes de realidad aumentada de Sensolux. Ambicioso, carente de escrúpulos y de métodos expeditivos, sería capaz de venderles hielo a los esquimales. Privilegiado, casi en la cima de su mundo y su profesión, su futuro no puede ser más prometedor. Como todos los que le rodean, Marcos accede al mundo a través de múltiples filtros que realzan y amplifican sus percepciones sensoriales. 
Pero un día los filtros se apagan y Marcos empieza a ver el mundo tal como es: gris, sucio y decrépito, a punto de desmoronarse. Luchará con garras y dientes por volver al paraíso del que ha sido expulsado, tratando de huir de una realidad en la que nadie en su sano juicio querría permanecer ni un minuto y encontrando por el camino varias respuestas a preguntas que habría preferido no hacerse.

jueves, 22 de mayo de 2014

Ebook en oferta: The Human Front, de Ken MacLeod

Durante el día de hoy se puede adquirir la colección de relatos The Human Front, de Ken MacLeod, en Weightless Books al precio promocional de 1,99$. Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:
Winner of the Sidewise and Seiun Awards. 
Ken MacLeod is one of the brightest and most progressive of Britain’s “Hard SF” stars who navigate exciting new futures to the delight of legions of fans around the world. His works combine cutting-edge scientific speculation, socialist and anarchist themes, and a deeply humanistic vision. Described by fans and adversaries alike as a “techno-utopian socialist,” MacLeod thrusts his characters into uncanny encounters that have included AI singularities, divergent human evolution, and posthuman cyborg-resurrection. 
In his novella The Human Front, a young Scottish guerrilla fighter is drawn into low-intensity sectarian war in a high-intensity dystopian future, and the arrival of an alien intruder (complete with saucer!) calls for new tactics and strange alliances. Its companion piece, “Other Deviations,” first published in this edition, reveals the complex origins of MacLeod’s alternate history. 
Plus: “The Future Will Happen Here, Too,” in which a Hebridean writer celebrates the landscapes that shaped his work, measures Scotland’s past against humanity’s future, and peers into the eyes of an eel. 
And Featuring: our irreverent Outspoken Interview, a candid and often cantankerous conversation that showcases our author’s deep erudition and mordant wit. - 

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year Volume 8, edited by Jonathan Strahan

(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 Best, by Tina Turner (Spotify, Youtube).

Nowadays, with so many short stories published every year in anthologies and online and print magazines, the "best of" compilations are more necessary than ever. With eight volumes published so far, the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year series edited by Jonathan Strahan is already a classic and one of the must-reads for those looking for quality short fiction. 

As expected, there are many good stories included in this volume. However, I must say that, having read quite a number of stories from 2013 myself, I found Strahan's taste to be somewhat orthogonal to mine. Some of the stories that were selected didn't really do it for me and I missed some of my favorites of the year (more on this later). 

Anyway, I would rate at least two of the stories as excellent: "Water", by Ramez Naam, and "The Sun and I", by K.J. Parker. They are quite different in style and tone, and both really belong in the best of the year. I highly recommend reading them if you haven't yet. 

I also enjoyed "Some Desperado" by Joe Abercrombie, "Zero for Conduct" by Greg Egan, "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling" by Ted Chiang, "The Master Conjurer" by Charlie Jane Anders"The Book Seller" by Lavie Tidhar, "Fade to Gold" by Benjanun Sriduangkaew and "The Queen of Night's Area" by Ian McDonald, among others. But I couldn't help the feeling that, despite being good stories, they are not up to par to some of these authors' best writing. For instance, I would have included "The Bees Her Heart, the Hive Her Belly" by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, "The Revolution Will Not Be Refrigerated" by Ian McDonald and "The Time Travel Club" by Charlie Jane Anders, instead.

And then there are those stories that, even though have been widely praised, I have failed to appreciate: "Sing" by Karin Tidbeck, "Selkies Stories are for Losers" by Sofia Samatar, "The Ink Readers of Dol Saket" by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, "The Irish Astronaut" by Val Nolan, to name but a few. It might very well be my fault, tough, since I have had similar issues with the work of some of these authors in the past.

All in all, I can't help thinking that this anthology doesn't really live up to the name of the "best of the year", although it includes a number of really remarkable stories. Your mileage may vary, anyway, and this book may be a good place to start if you want to give contemporary genre short fiction a try. 

(You can also read this review in Spanish at El Fantascopio/También puedes leer esta reseña en español en El Fantascopio) 

miércoles, 21 de mayo de 2014

Ebook en oferta: Shikasta, de Doris Lessing

En estos momentos se puede adquirir el ebook (en inglés) Shikasta, de Doris Lessing, a un precio rebajado en varias tiendas online. Por ejemplo, en Amazon España cuesta 2,85€ y en Kobo, donde se le pueden aplicar cupones adicionales de descuento, 3,01€. 

Ésta es la sinopsis de la novela:
From Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, this is the first instalment in the visionary novel cycle ‘Canopus in Argos: Archives’. 
The story of the final days of our planet is told through the reports of Johor, an emissary sent from Canopus. Earth, now named Shikasta (the Stricken) by the kindly, paternalistic Canopeans who colonised it many centuries ago, is under the influence of the evil empire of Puttiora. War, famine, disease and environmental disasters ravage the planet. To Johor, mankind is a ‘totally crazed species’, racing towards annihilation: his orders to save humanity set him what seems to be an impossible task. 
Blending myth, fable and allegory, Doris Lessing’s astonishing visionary creation both reflects and redefines the history of our own world from its earliest beginnings to an inevitable, tragic self-destruction.

Novedad en Nova: Steelheart, de Brandon Sanderson

Hoy se publica, dentro de la colección Nova, Steelheart de Brandon Sanderson. El libro tiene 416 páginas y cuesta 21€ en papel y 9,99€ en ebook. Ésta es su sinopsis:
Diez años atrás, Calamity irrumpió en la ciudad en la forma de una explosión en el cielo que otorgó a algunos seres poderes extraordinarios. A estos se los empezó a llamar Épicos, y pronto subyugaron a la población empleando sus increíbles poderes con el afán de gobernar la voluntad de los hombres y conquistar el mundo. Ahora, un tirano y furioso Épico llamado Steelheart se ha proclamado dueño y señor de la ciudad de Chicago Nova. De él se dice que es invencible; ninguna bala puede hacerle daño, ninguna espada puede atravesar su piel, ningún fuego quemar su cuerpo. Nadie se atreve a desafiarlo… Nadie salvo los Reckoners.

martes, 20 de mayo de 2014

Ebook en oferta: The Enceladus Crisis, de Michael J. Martinez

En estos momentos se puede descargar de Amazon la novela The Enceladus Crisis, segunda entrega de la Daedalus Series de Michael J. Martinez, por sólo 0,99€ en formato electrónico. Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:
Two dimensions collided on the rust-red deserts of Mars—and are destined to become entangled once more in this sequel to the critically acclaimed The Daedalus Incident. 
Lieutenant Commander Shaila Jain has been given the assignment of her dreams: the first manned mission to Saturn. But there’s competition and complications when she arrives aboard the survey ship Armstrong. The Chinese are vying for control of the critical moon Titan, and the moon Enceladus may harbor secrets deep under its icy crust. And back on Earth, Project DAEDALUS now seeks to defend against other dimensional incursions. But there are other players interested in opening the door between worlds . . . and they’re getting impatient. 
For Thomas Weatherby, it’s been nineteen years since he was second lieutenant aboard HMS Daedalus. Now captain of the seventy-four-gun Fortitude, Weatherby helps destroy the French fleet at the Nile and must chase an escaped French ship from Egypt to Saturn, home of the enigmatic and increasingly unstable aliens who call themselves the Xan. Meanwhile, in Egypt, alchemist Andrew Finch has ingratiated himself with Napoleon’s forces . . . and finds the true, horrible reason why the French invaded Egypt in the first place. 
The thrilling follow-up to The Daedalus Incident, The Enceladus Crisis continues Martinez’s Daedalus series with a combination of mystery, intrigue, and high adventure spanning two amazing dimensions.

Novedad: My Real Children, de Jo Walton

Hoy se pone a la venta My Real Children, la más reciente novela de Jo Walton. Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:
It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know—what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don't seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev. 
Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War—those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles? 
Two lives, two worlds, two versions of modern history; each with their loves and losses, their sorrows and triumphs. Jo Walton's My Real Children is the tale of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives...and of how every life means the entire world.​

lunes, 19 de mayo de 2014

Jack Glass, de Adam Roberts

Banda sonora de la reseña: Sugiero leer esta reseña escuchando Champagne Supernova, de Oasis  (Spotify, Youtube).

Me llama mucho la atención que Adam Roberts, que parece ser un gran defensor de la ciencia ficción más literaria, se descuelgue de vez en cuando con obras que podríamos llamar... más ligeras. Por ejemplo, sus únicas obras traducidas al castellano (hasta el momento) son parodias de El Hobbit, Matrix y Star Wars, respectivamente. Y aunque tiene obras tremendamente serias como By Light Alone, tiene también libros como Jack Glass.

Jack Glass es una novela engañosa, en parte intencionadamente (o eso creo) y en parte sin intención (o eso creo). El engaño explícito es claro desde el prólogo. Qué digo desde el prólogo: desde el mismísimo título (Jack Glass: The Story of a Murderer), donde se nos invita a pensar que este es un libro que mezcla ciencia ficción y literatura policiaca a partes iguales. Si uno considera, por ejemplo, afirmaciones como la que transcribo bajo estas líneas, es normal que se espere una trama de misterio e investigación, con sospechosos escurridizos y callejones sin salida aparente:
One of these mysteries is a prison story. One is a regular whodunnit. One is a locked-room mystery. I can't promise that they're necessarily presented to you in that order; but it should be easy for you to work out which is which, and to sort them out accordingly. Unless you find that each of them is all three at once, in which case I'm not sure I can help you.   
Pero no, la situación es completamente distinta. Ni hay misterio. Ni hay sospechosos. Ni hay investigación. O casi no hay nada de todo eso, porque queda supeditado a otros temas bastante diferentes. Jack Glass es, sobre todo, una aventura al estilo de las de la Edad de Oro de la ciencia ficción. El propio autor lo reconoce en las notas finales, pero no hace falta llegar a ellas para darse cuenta de que en esta novela hay poco de de Agatha Christie o de Arthur Conan Doyle y sí mucho de Bester y Vance e incluso de Heinlein y Asimov. 

Así, nos encontramos, por ejemplo, con castas familiares que dominan el Sistema Solar. Rebeldes que luchan por derrocarlas. Invenciones científicas que ponen en peligro a todos la humanidad. Mineros de los asteroides, naves más rápidas que la luz, pistolas de rayos. Temas, casi todos ellos, que podrían haber sido sacados de la época más "pulpi" de Astounding Stories.

Dicho de ese modo, podría parecer que creo que el libro es malo o que no me ha gustado. Ni lo uno, ni lo otro. Roberts se ha preocupado de remozar y actualizar todos esos elementos, haciéndolos más que atractivos para el lector contemporáneo. El primer capítulo, sin duda el más redondo de los tres que componen la obra, es un gran ejemplo de cómo dar una vuelta de tuerca a la minería de asteroides que mencionaba arriba. El segundo, por su parte, entronca muy acertadamente con temas políticos y sociales que el autor ya había tocado en otras obras (el ghunk del que se alimentan los billones de pobladores de los hábitats artificiales es equivalente a la fotosíntesis que ha eliminado las hambrunas en By Light Alone). Y a lo largo de toda la novela, que se lee siempre con interés, hay muchos momentos brillantes que, por sí solos, hacen que merezca la pena el tiempo empleado en ella.  

Sin embargo, sí que es verdad que Jack Glass me parece, al realizar el balance final, un libro fallido. Juega a demasiados palos diferentes (novela detectivesca, homenaje a la Golden Age, literatura política) sin decidirse claramente por ninguno y quedándose corto, por tanto, en todos ellos. Y, sobre todo, es una novela que va de más a menos. Desde la genial frase de apertura ("This narrative, which I hereby doctowarson for your benefit..."), pasando por un más que notable primer capítulo y un aceptable segundo, la cosa desemboca en una parte final en la que parece que Roberts ha perdido un poco el rumbo de la narración y que se resuelve con un desenlace tan insulso como inadecuado e insatisfactorio. Por no hablar de las poesías que se añaden como apéndice y que me confieso que fui incapaz de leer. 

Repito: Jack Glass no me ha parecido, ni mucho menos, un mal libro. Es más, diría que es posible que me haya gustado más que By Light Alone. Pero lo que es incuestionable es que está muy lejos de ser una novela redonda y que no cumple nunca con la promesa inicial. Una pena, porque tenía muchas posibilidades para haber sido un gran libro, pero, tras un prometedor inicio, se pierde por el camino. 

Nota: Simultáneamente con esta entrada, se publica en el estupendo blog Dreams of Elvex una reseña alternativa (nuestra primera colaboración de este estilo, peroseguramente no la última). 

domingo, 18 de mayo de 2014

Ganadores de los Premios Nebula 2013

Hace poco más de una hora que se han anunciado los ganadores de los Premios Nebula de este año. Podéis verlos, en negrita junto con el resto de los nominados, a continuación:

Mejor novela
  • We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)
  • Fire with Fire, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
  • Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island)
  • A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
  • The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker (Harper)

Mejor novela corta

  • ‘‘Wakulla Springs,’’ Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Tor.com 10/2/13)
  • ‘‘The Weight of the Sunrise,’’ Vylar Kaftan (Asimov’s 2/13)
  • ‘‘Annabel Lee,” Nancy Kress (New Under the Sun)
  • ‘‘Burning Girls,’’ Veronica Schanoes (Tor.com 6/19/13)
  • ‘‘Trial of the Century,’’ Lawrence M. Schoen (lawrencemschoen.com, 8/13; World Jumping)
  • Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean)

Mejor relato

  • ‘‘Paranormal Romance,’’ Christopher Barzak (Lightspeed 6/13)
  • ‘‘The Waiting Stars,’’ Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky)
  • ‘‘They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass,’’ Alaya Dawn Johnson (Asimov’s 1/13)
  • ‘‘Pearl Rehabilitative Colony for Ungrateful Daughters,’’ Henry Lien (Asimov’s 12/13)
  • ‘‘The Litigation Master and the Monkey King,’’ Ken Liu (Lightspeed 8/13)
  • ‘‘In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,’’ Sarah Pinsker (Strange Horizons 7/1 – 7/8/13)

Mejor relato corto

  • ‘‘The Sounds of Old Earth,’’ Matthew Kressel (Lightspeed 1/13)
  • ‘‘Selkie Stories Are for Losers,’’ Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons 1/7/13)
  • ‘‘Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer,’’ Kenneth Schneyer (Clockwork Phoenix 4)
  • ‘‘If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love,’’ Rachel Swirsky (Apex 3/13)
  • ‘‘Alive, Alive Oh,’’ Sylvia Spruck Wrigley (Lightspeed 6/13)

Premio Ray Bradbury (Presentación dramática)

  • Doctor Who: ‘‘The Day of the Doctor’’ (Nick Hurran, director; Steven Moffat, writer) (BBC Wales)
  • Europa Report (Sebastián Cordero, director; Philip Gelatt, writer) (Start Motion Pictures)
  • Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón, director; Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, writers) (Warner Bros.)
  • Her (Spike Jonze, director; Spike Jonze, writer) (Warner Bros.)
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence, director; Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt as Michael deBruyn, writers) (Lionsgate)
  • Pacific Rim (Guillermo del Toro, director; Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, writers) (Warner Bros.)

Premio Andre Norton (Obras de ciencia ficción y fantasía juveniles)

  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Indigo)
  • When We Wake, Karen Healey (Allen & Unwin; Little, Brown)
  • Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson (Grand Central)
  • The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson (Levine)
  • Hero, Alethea Kontis (Harcourt)
  • September Girls, Bennett Madison (Harper Teen)
  • A Corner of White, Jaclyn Moriarty (Levine)

¡Enhorabuena a los ganadores!