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BOOK NEWS FOR DEC. 4: THE ROAD, H.P. LOVECRAFT, VAMPIRES, NEW FANTASY, AND THE HUNGER GAMES

by Dawn, December 4, 2009

From The List UK: Best of a decade: Books
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The top ten books of the decade are led by a sci-fi book: The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

1. Cormac McCarthy – The Road (2006): Already considered one of the finest novels of the modern era, Cormac McCarthy’s compelling and relentless story of a man and his son struggling to survive in a blasted, ashen post-apocalyptic landscape set a new benchmark for future fiction on its publication in 2006, and combined high literary ideas with an unforgiving, gripping narrative. As the father and son head south to avoid another bitter winter, their lives are constantly threatened by the bleak, dead environment around them as well as by other travellers. Marauding tribes have resorted to murder and cannibalism to survive, while the pair also discover a human farm in a plot which subverts and transcends horror and thriller genres to create something akin to a modern fable.

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fromPatrick Nielsen Hayden at TorH. P. Lovecraft, Founding Father of SF Fandom
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Before the internet, before BBSes and Fidonet and Usenet and LiveJournal and blogs and Facebook and Twitter, before the World Wide Web and hot-and-cold-online-everything, science fiction fandom had a long-lived, robust, well-debugged technology of social networking and virtual community. That technology, which flourished in fandom from the 1940s through the 1980s, was the amateur press association, commonly abbreviated APA. And they got it from H. P. Lovecraft.

A typical APA has thirty or forty members, each of whom self-publishes a small periodical for the others to read. Rather than everyone mailing their zines to everyone else, each member prints enough copies for the whole group and ships them to a designated officer of the group, who then, at periodic intervals, collates and redistributes identical collections of all the latest publications to every member of the group.

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By Geoff Boucher at the Los Angeles Times: Jack Bauer with fangs? Meet the vampire spy of ‘Blood Oath’
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Now here’s a political-thriller concept with bite: Next May, Putnam will release “Blood Oath,” which tells the tale of Nathaniel Cade, a vampire who has secretly served and protected every U.S. president for the past 140 years.

Putnam is planning a series devoted to the adventures of Cade. In the first book, the duty-bound bloodsucker is paired with a new Oval Office liaison, the cocky and calculating Zach Barrows. The two uneasy partners then uncover a grisly plot to use the battlefield corpses of American soldiers as biological weapons. The mastermind behind the plot? An ageless scientist who inspired Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.”

“I asked myself, ‘What could the president of the United States offer a vampire?’ and ‘What could a vampire offer the president?’ The answer to both is, well, quite a lot…. It was an idea that just wouldn’t let go of me, I had to exorcise it, to phrase it as dramatically as possible.”

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via Sabrina Rojas Weiss at MTV News: Meet The World’s Most Relatable Vampire In The ‘House Of Night’: The Book Report
PhotobucketGone into vampire withdrawal yet? We’ve seen “New Moon” a hundred times, “Vampire Diaries” is in reruns, and “True Blood” is on hiatus. Take that Jasper grimace off your face and relax; we’re here to help. Peruse through past Book Report recommendations for your supernatural YA fix, and get sucked into yet another vampire series this week: P.C. Cast and daughter Kristin Cast’s “House of Night” books, which have also been optioned for a movie adaptation.

In this world, when select teenagers begin to change into vampyres — because of a combination of hormones and genetic predisposition — they’re tracked down, “marked” with a magical tattoo and then sent off to special nocturnal boarding schools, called Houses of Night. These vampyres seem a lot more like witches than the undead: They worship the goddess Nyx and practice magic with the five elements (air, fire, water, earth and spirit). But they’re constantly haunted by the fact that not all fledglings survive the change; many die suddenly, in the middle of class.

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from Ryan Van Cleave at California Literary Review: Flesh and Fire: Book One of the Vineart War by Laura Anne Gilman
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If you like magic rings and cryptic, bearded wizards, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is probably up your fantasy alley. If you dig dark elves and +5 broadswords, odds are you’ve dungeon-delved a time or two in the world of R.A. Salvatore. But if you prefer a fine glass of Chablis as you stroll through a Tuscany vineyard, you’d be out of luck to enjoy such elements in a fantasy book—until now. Laura Anne Gilman, author of the best-selling Retrievers novels, has a new oenophile-based fantasy trilogy that’s a welcome surprise to the fantasy genre which has seemed bereft of any real innovation for far too long.

Admittedly, the premise is intriguing. All magic comes from spellwines created by Vinearts, former slaves who are forbidden to engage in politics or government thanks to a decree by the Sin Washer, a deity who sacrificed himself fourteen centuries earlier to stop the madness that the power-craving prince-mages created through their reckless use of magic. Now the power of wine magic is much more limited in order to keep its power from corrupting users. This is simply the way the world works in the Vin Lands. No one has questioned it . . . until now.

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By Diane Roback at Publisher’s Weekly: ‘Hunger Games 3’ to Publish Next August
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Hunger Games fans have just eight more months to wait: the as yet untitled third and final book in Suzanne Collins’s dystopian fantasy trilogy will be released in English worldwide on August 24, 2010. An audio version from Scholastic Audio will be released simultaneously.

In other news, the trade paperback edition of the first book in the trilogy, The Hunger Games, will be released on July 6, 2010.

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By Charlie Jane Anders at io9: Is Fantasy The New Literature Of The Future?

Whenever people remark on the fact that fantasy books are slowly eclipsing science fiction, it’s viewed as a fear of the future, because fantasy is all about the past, right? Not necessarily, says one blogger.

Writer Mark Charan Newton (Nights Of Viijamur) cites some reasons why “science fiction is dying and fantasy is the future,” including the movie popularity of Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings, the predominance of female readers, and fact that real-life science is now as full of “sensawunda” as science fiction.

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I love that a Sci Fi book has been picked as the best book of the decade. And I don’t normally like crime books, but Blood Oath sounds really interesting. And I loved hearing about the way Sci Fi writer’s got their work out, it’s hard to imagine life without internet now.

What do you think of the list? Have you read Marked? Are you looking forward to the next Hunger Games book?

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