New Releases, Week of March 13, 2011

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Here’s a list of all of the sci-fi and fantasy coming out this week.

Released Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Zombies!: An Illustrated History of the Undead, by Jovanka Vuckovic

The zombie phenomenon is unique in Western popular culture. From its origins in the voodoo beliefs of Haiti, it has become a key ingredient in today’s cinema, popular literature and comics. With one simple premise that the dead rise again to feast on the living and turn them into zombies, the undead have inspired a huge variety of artists to explore ideas of survival, morality, fear, humour and horror. ZOMBIES! is the first book to take a wide look at the whole phenomenon, from low budget cult movies to long-running comics and best-selling humour novels. With stunning imagery, and an authoritative and entertaining text from one of the worlds most distinguished experts on the genre, plus a foreword by master of horror George A. Romero, this tome will appall and delight the reader in equal measure.

Rocket Girls: The Last Planet, by Housuke Nojiri

Reads L to R (Western Style)

Yukari Morita is a high school girl on a quest to find her missing father. While searching for him in the Solomon Islands, she receives the offer of a lifetime–she’ll get the help she needs to find her father, and all she need do in return is become the world’s youngest, lightest astronaut. Yukari and her teen friends, all petite, are the perfect crew and cargo for the Solomon Space Association’s launches, or will be once they complete their rigorous and sometimes dangerous training.

When the Rocket Girls accidentally land in the yard of Yukari Morita’s old school, it looks as though their experiment is ruined. Luckily, the geeky Akane is there to save the day. Fitting the profile–she’s intelligent, enthusiastic, and petite–Akane is soon recruited by Solomon Space Association. Yukari and Akane are then given the biggest Rocket Girl mission yet: a voyage to the edge of the solar system and the minor planet of Pluto to save a NASA probe.

Escaping the Cataclysm: A Novel about the Origin of Geological Formations, by Keith A Robinson

Having travelled over four thousand years into the past, Rebecca Evans, her husband Jeffrey, and their companions find themselves stranded by a malfunctioning time machine just days before the greatest catastrophe in the history of the earth, the worldwide Flood! Accompanied by a technologically-enhanced language specialist; a mysterious, wolf-like giant; a hovering utility droid; and several others, Rebecca and Jeffrey fight against the odds to save their relationship, their lives, and their souls.

The travelers are caught in a race against time to fix the machine in order to escape the coming destruction. However, help proves difficult to find in this strange world that is both foreign, yet disturbingly familiar. Desperate, Rebecca and her companions seek out the one man who might be able to help them: the ancient Patriarch of all mankind, Noah.

Escaping the Cataclysm is the exciting conclusion to the Origins Trilogy. Filled with intense action, fascinating locations, spiritual warfare, frightening villains, and realistic characters, it keeps readers riveted while at the same time presenting scientifically-based and carefully-researched material about the Flood of Noah and its effects on the earth.

The Winds of Khalakovo, by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Debut novelist Beaulieu paints a detailed and realistic portrayal of individual fates bound up in social responsibilities as well-grounded cultures clash. Prince Nikandr Khalakovo, facing an arranged marriage, also suffers from a wasting disease plaguing the Anuskaya islands. When the rebellious Maharraht loose a fire elemental and kill the visiting Grand Duke Stasa Bolgravya, civil war erupts, and all factions seek to capture a mysterious autistic boy who straddles both the spirit and the material worlds. Beaulieu skillfully juggles elements borrowed from familiar cultures (primarily Russian and Bedouin) as well as telepathy, airborne ships, and magical gems. Viewpoint shifts are occasionally confusing, but the prose is often poetic—airborne skiffs under attack “dropped like kingfishers” and “twisted in the air like maple seeds”—and the characters have welcome depth.

Hellhole (The Hellhole Trilogy), by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

Hellhole is a militaristic sf story of galactic proportions. The underdog, General Tiber Adolphus, had taken on the corrupted Constellation and lost as a direct result of choosing a moral high ground. The ruler of the Constellation, Diadem Michella Duchenet, does not have him executed but, rather, exiled permanently to a planet in the Deep Zone. The diadem is the powerful ruler of a system not unlike that of Louis XVI of France, a feudal system of nobility that tramples the common people for the benefit of the few scheming nobles at the top�a system teetering at the end of its useful life. In the time-honored footsteps of story arcs like Star Wars and Dune, Adolphus continues to plan a rebellion from his remote world of exile, hoping to eventually achieve the Deep Zone planets� independence from the Constellation. A brilliant strategist, lover of Old Earth history, and castoff of a now-defunct noble line, Adolphus is a Robin Hood for the galaxy to unite behind and support. The characters are easy for the reader to believe in, brought to life through not only their own emotions but also the responses and thoughts of the individuals around them.

The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Time Capsule: An Audio Exclusive Adventure, by Peter Anghelides

An exciting adventure for Sarah Jane Smith and friends, commissioned especially for audio, and following the already released “The Glittering Storm” and “The Thirteenth Stone.” Written by Peter Anghelides, and narrated by cast member Elisabeth Sladen.

Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women who Love Them, by Lynne M. Thomas & Deborah Stanish
In Whedonistas, a host of award-winning female writers and fans come together to celebrate the works of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Doctor Horrible s Sing-Along Blog). By discussing the impact of Whedon’s work, their involvement with his shows fandoms and why they adore the worlds he’s created, these essayists aim to misbehave in Whedon’s rich, fantastical worlds. Essay topics include Sharon Shinn (Samaria series) and Emma Bull (Territory) elaborating on the perfection of Firefly, Jeanne Stein (the Anna Strong Chronicles) revealing Buffy’s influence on Anna Strong, and Nancy Holder (October Rain, The Watcher s Guide) relating on-the-set tales of Spike menacing her baby daughter while Riley made her hot chocolate. Other contributors include Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Elizabeth Bear (Chill), Catherynne M. Valente (Palimpsest), Maria Lima (Blood Lines), Jackie Kessler (Black and White), Mariah Huehner (IDW Comics), Sarah Monette (Corambis), and Lyda Morehouse (AngeLINK Series). Also featured is an exclusive interview with television writer and producer Jane Espenson.

Lady-Protector: The Eighth Book of the Corean Chronicles, by L. E. Modesitt

A new novel of Mykella, the young woman introduced in The Lord-Protector’s Daughter. Though a bloody coup has made Mykella ruler of her land, it has left her and her two sisters bereft of family and uncertain of their friends. Worse, an examination of the nation’s accounts reveals that their country is almost destitute. Plus, there are rumblings of war along the borders. With no money and few allies, Mykella is faced with the difficult prospect of rebuilding her nation while trying to hold off a potentially devastating invasion.

Fortunately for Mykella, an old magic has awakened in her; a power that gives her the ability to read the emotions of others and to spy on the movements of her enemies. But the resurgence of this power might herald the return of an ancient enemy, one that Mykella isn’t sure how to face.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. returns to the world of The Corean Chronicles with a novel filled with politics, adventure, magic, and romance.

The Ale Boy’s Feast: A Novel (The Auralia Thread), by Jeffrey Overstreet

The king is missing.
His people are trapped as the woods turn deadly.
Underground, the boy called Rescue has found an escape.

Hopes are failing across The Expanse. The forests, once beautiful, are now haunted and bloodthirsty. House Abascar’s persecuted people risk their lives to journey through those predatory trees. They seek a mythic city – Abascar’s last, best hope for refuge – where they might find the source of Auralia’s colors.

They journey without their king. During a calamitous attempt to rescue some of his subjects from slavery, Cal-raven vanished.

But his helper, the ale boy, falling through a crack in the earth, has discovered a slender thread of hope in the dark. He will dare to lead a desperate company up the secret river.

Meanwhile, with a dragon’s help, the wandering mage Scharr ben Fray is uncovering history’s biggest lie – a deception that only a miracle can repair.

Time is running out for all those entangled in The Auralia Thread. But hope and miracles flicker wherever Auralia’s colors are found.

The Rise of the Iron Moon, by Stephen Hunt

This campy postapocalyptic steampunk environmental morality tale brings together several characters from 2009’s The Court of the Air and 2010’s The Kingdom Beyond the Waves and takes them on a hair-raising rollercoaster of an adventure. When the Army of Shadows threatens the Kingdom of Jackals and the Quatérshift, the two countries must set aside their differences and work together against the monstrous and dangerous foe. The Shadows appear to be a completely unknown form of life, and their nature compels destruction of everything in their path. Molly Templar, Commodore Black, Duncan Connor, Coppertracks the Steamman, Oliver Brooks and a few new faces must race the clock to stem the tide of this horrendous evil. A dash of earth magic and a dose of environmental angst make this a bumpy but enjoyable ride.

Pathfinder Tales: Plague of Shadows, by Howard Andrew Jones
A fantastic new adventure of swords and sorcery, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! The race is on to free Lord Stelan from the grip of a wasting curse, and only his old, half-elf mercenary companion Elyana has the wisdom – and swordcraft – to solve the mystery of his tormentor and free her old friend before three days have passed and the illness takes its course. When the villain turns out to be another of their former companions, the half-elf sets out with a team of adventurers across the Revolution-wracked nation of Galt and the treacherous Five Kings Mountains to discover the key to Stelan’s salvation in a lost valley warped by weird magical energies and inhabited by terrible nightmare beasts.

A Matter of Time, by Glen Cook

May 1975. St. Louis. In a snow-swept street, a cop finds the body of a man who died fifty years ago. It’s still warm. July 1866, Lidice, Bohemia: A teenage girl calmly watches her parents die as another being takes control of her body. August 2058, Prague: Three political rebels flee in to the past, taking with them a terrible secret. As past, present, and future collide, one man holds the key to the puzzle. And if he doesn’t fit it together, the world he knows will fall to pieces. It’s just A Matter of Time!

The Black Chalice (Malory’s Knights of Albion), by Steven Savile

Aspirant to the Round Table, Sir Alymere, fails on the Grail quest but in so doing, learns of the Devil’s Own Cup, “the Black Chalice” and of the Devil’s Bible the foul book that will lead him to it. On his quest he will face many obstacles and cunning enemies, but the ultimate threat is to his very soul.

Resurrection Code (Angelink Universe), by Lyda Morehouse

North Africa is in ruins after the Aswan dams collapse and a massive flood reclaims the Nile valley. The privileged and the sane have long since abandoned Egypt to the scavengers and the dregs of society. Christian El-Aref is a street rat, living hand-to-mouth. His life is going nowhere fast. Then he stumbles over a dead body carrying revolutionary shareware tech. Now he’s being hunted. And if he’s not careful, the next dead body may be his own. This action-packed cyberpunk thriller weaves its way through the slums of a flooded Cairo, encountering murderous cults of eunuchs, an assassination plot perpetrated by angels, and an enigmatic street urchin who may or may not be the reincarnation of the prophet Mohammed. Lyda Morehouse tells the anticipated story of how Christian became the Mouse, the father of the underground Internet and the technological hope of the disenfranchised in a dystopian theocratic near-future, in this standalone prequel to her acclaimed AngeLINK novel series. Also included: Morehouse s AngeLINK-related short story, ishtartu, from the Lambda Award-nominated collection Periphery.

Ice Trilogy, by Vladimir Sorokin

Sorokin’s epic trilogy, originally published between 2002 and 2005, expands the enigma of the 1908 Tunguska meteorite blast into an impressive merger of metaphysical fantasia and gritty conspiracy thriller. Following the impact, select humans realize they are actually cosmic entities and form a group called the Brotherhood in hopes of finding the way back to the Light. Though the relatively weak first book, Bro, is crippled by an excess of overwrought prose, Ice is a spectacular achievement, vividly exposing the eventual corruption and brutality surrounding even the noblest of goals, while 23,000 moves effectively outward to encompass those who fight to uncover and defeat the Brotherhood in a tense race against time. Though very slow to develop and marred somewhat by irritating redundancies and areas where disbelief is difficult to suspend, the trilogy builds into both a gripping story and an impressive metaphorical window into the 20th-century Soviet experience, offering substantial rewards to the patient and thoughtful reader.

Up Against it, by M. J. Locke

Compulsively readable and packed with challenging ideas, this hefty debut is set in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroid colony Phoecea survives by using nanotech to process huge chunks of methane ice, until sabotage by the Martian crime syndicate throws everything into jeopardy. Meanwhile, a feral AI is evolving within the colony’s computer net, intending to spread throughout the solar system. The humans who have to cope with these threats are competent, endearing, and believably frazzled: Resource Commissioner Jane Navio has to make life and death decisions while watching her public approval rating fluctuate, and teen Geoff Agre and his rocketbike-riding friends make heroic choices while squabbling with their families and each other. Locke has created a believable ecosystem of struggling, competing, sometimes uncomfortably interacting components, where trust is betrayed painfully, but allies appear unexpectedly. Most of all, this smart, satisfying hard SF adventure celebrates human resilience.

The Gravity Pilot, by M. M. Buckner

It is the polluted and gritty future, saved, sort of, by technofixes. Young skydiver Orr Sitka wants no more from life in future Alaska than he already has: a woman he loves and the chance to dive. When he makes a reckless, record-breaking jump that catapults him into celebrity, he’s courted by corporations that want to exploit his talent to make him a sports media star.

The dangerous jump that wins Orr infamy turns out to be a breaking point for his loving girlfriend, Dyce, who is wooed away by a promising job in the thriving underground city of Seattle, a world media center in a crumbling civilization. Separately, Orr and Dyce are sucked into nightmare lives that take a terrible toll on each of them. When Orr learns that Dyce has become addicted to virtual reality, controlled by an eccentric media billionaire and his decadent daughter, he does everything in his power to rescue her. But is Orr strong enough to get through to Dyce and break them both out of hell?

Shimmer: A Riley Bloom Book (Radiance #2), by Alyson Noel

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi’s advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca’s sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she’s not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Midnight, by L. J. Smith

The devil you know . . .

With the help of charming and devious Damon, Elena rescued her vampire love, Stefan, from the depths of the Dark Dimension. But neither brother returned unscathed.

Stefan is weak from his long imprisonment and needs more blood than Elena alone can give him, while a strange magic has turned Damon into ahuman. Savage and desperate, Damon will do anything to become a vampire again—even travel back to hell. But what will happen when he accidentally takes Bonnie with him?

Stefan and Elena hurry to rescue their innocent friend from the Dark Dimension, leaving Matt and Meredith to save their hometown from the dangerous spirits that have taken hold of Fell’s Church. One by one, children are succumbing to demonic designs. But Matt and Meredith soon discover that the source of the evil is darker—and closer—than they ever could have imagined. . . .

Steel, by Carrie Vaughn

It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.

This was the tip of a rapier.

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate’s life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.

Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn.

List from Borders.com and descriptions/reviews from Amazon.com

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