Blog Archive

View My Stats
Saturday, September 25, 2010

Selecting Books: A Case Study Using the Locus List of Selected Forthcoming Books (by Liviu Suciu)


Book selection, book selection, book selection...

I always note that this is the most important element that allows me to read lots of books - sure I make the time, read whenever and wherever I can but ultimately *book selection* is the key since while it means spending time and effort to find the most interesting books, it also means I always have something on tap that keeps my interest high. I look at tons and tons of titles - mostly new but also anything old that attracts my attention, though the older titles tend to be non-sff by and large - and I am always excited to find unexpected books, while of course there is a large "asap"/"on publication" list too. I will have a Top Anticipated 2011 Books post too, maybe split in several parts with a continually updated collated post as I did for 2010 books.

Today of course "book selection" is much easier with lists of upcoming books, samples and all and I find it hard to understand why people persist in reading meh books, rather than looking for those special ones that will brighten their life...

So as a case in study, I took the recently published Locus list of selected upcoming sff from September 2010 till June 2011 and to keep the post of reasonable length, I picked some random months (November 2010, March/May/June 2011) and did a quick look through and commented on each book as I always do "in my mind" when I look at such lists.

Note that the books on the list are only a partial sample of sff releases and also publication dates change, so this list is just one of several sources I use to find out about new sff.

Of course most books - as is the case in general since *an arbitrary book is most likely not of interest for an arbitrary reader* - are of "no interest" to me, which does not mean that I think the book will be bad in any "objective" way - it just means what it says. In many of the "no interest" cases I am acquainted with the respective author's work and found it "not for me", while in a few cases - I would say UF first and foremost, but tie-ins too - it is just a matter of the subject being way outside my interests; in the situations I am not sure, I marked it as such and will take a look whenever.


November 2010

  • Adams, John Joseph, ed. • The Way of the Wizard(Prime Books, anth, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Akers, Tim • The Horns of Ruin(Pyr, tpb)
  • begged for an arc since the book was a huge anticipated one for 2010; read it on receive but sadly the book turned out to be far from my tastes

  • Armstrong, Kelley • Counterfeit Magic(Subterranean Press, nva, hc)
  • no interest

  • + Bakker, Scott • Disciple of the Dog(Tor/Forge, hc)
  • no interest

  • Ballantine, Philippa • Geist(Ace)
  • will check but unlikely to be of interest
  • + Banks, Iain M. • Surface Detail(Orbit USA, hc)
  • begged for an arc, currently reading; top expected book of the rest of 2010 by far
  • will be late October most likely, with the UK edition early October

  • Barnes, Steven • Assassins(ISFiC Press, cln, hc)
  • will check but unlikely to be of interest

  • Bear, Greg • Hull Zero Three(Orbit US, hc)
  • an arc would be nice, but a try on publication otherwise

  • Briggs, Patricia • Wolfsbane(Ace)
  • no interest

  • Bujold, Lois McMaster • CryoBurn(Baen, hc)
  • read on publication; this one moved to October too from what I hear

  • Butcher, Jim • Side Jobs(Roc, cln, hc)
  • no interest

  • Card, Orson Scott • Pathfinder(Simon Pulse, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • Clark, Simon • The Gravedigger's Tale: Fables of Fear(Robert Hale, cln, hc)
  • no interest

  • Cook, Glen • Gilded Latten Bones(Roc)
  • no interest

  • Cook, Glen • Surrender to the Will of the Night(Tor, hc)
  • I read the first two and got an arc of this one and will read it but not a big asap since my taste evolved a bit away from this series

  • + Cornish, D. M. • Factotum(Putnam, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • Cornish, D. M. • Monster Blood Tattoo, Book Three: Factotum(Fickling UK, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • de Lint, Charles • The Painted Boy(Viking, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • Fenner, Cathy, & Arnie Fenner, eds. • Spectrum 17: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art(Underwood Books, anth, hc)
  • will look at it in store

  • Fforde, Jasper • The Last Dragonslayer(Hodder & Stoughton, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • Gribbin, John • The Alice Encounter(PS Publishing, nva, hc)
  • no interest

  • Gurney, James • Color and Light(Andrews McMeel, art, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Hoban, Russell • Angelica Lost and Found(Bloomsbury, hc)
  • no interest

  • Jemisin, N. K. • The Broken Kingdoms(Orbit US, tpb)
  • an arc would be nice, but read on publication otherwise

  • Jones, Stephen, ed. • Visitants: Stories of Fallen Angels and Heavenly Hosts(Ulysses Press, anth, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Jordan, Robert, & Brandon Sanderson • Towers of Midnight(Tor, hc)
  • no interest

  • Kearney, Paul • Corvus(Solaris US)
  • got an arc and read it on receive - excellent mil-fantasy
  • will be late October most likely

  • Kidd, Tom • OtherWorlds: How to Imagine, Paint and Create Epic Scenes of Fantasy(F + W Publications/Impact, tpb)
  • no interest

  • King, Stephen • Full Dark, No Stars(Simon & Schuster/Scribner, cln, hc)
  • no interest

  • Lansdale, Joe R. • Flaming Zeppelins: The Adventures of Ned the Seal(Tachyon Publications, cln, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Lee, Sharon • Carousel Tides(Baen, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Leiber, Fritz • Strange Wonders: A Collection of Rare Fritz Leiber Works(Subterranean Press, cln, hc)
  • no interest

  • MacLeod, Ian R. • Wake Up and Dream(PS Publishing, hc)
  • maybe if a pdf arc shows up

  • Martin, George R. R., & Gardner Dozois, eds. • Songs of Love and Death(Simon & Schuster/Gallery, anth, hc)
  • will try on publication

  • McDevitt, Jack • Echo(Ace, hc)
  • an arc would be nice, but read/review on publication otherwise as I do with all Jack McDevitt novels

  • McKinley, Robin • Pegasus(Putnam, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • McLeod, Suzanne • The Bitter Seed of Magic(Gollancz, hc/tpb)
  • no interest

  • Nicholson, Scott • Transparent Lovers(PS Publishing, nva, hc)
  • maybe if a pdf arc shows up
  • Painter, Deborah • Forry: The Life of Forrest J Ackerman(McFarland, nf, hc)
  • no interest

  • Rambo, Cat, Paul Tremblay & Sean Wallace, eds. • Worlds of Fantasy: The Best of Fantasy Magazine(Prime Books, anth, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Reed, Robert • Eater-of-Bone(PS Publishing, cln, hc)
  • maybe if a pdf arc shows up

  • Rickert, M. • Holiday(Golden Gryphon Press, cln, hc)
  • no interest

  • Rushdie, Salman • Luka and the Fire of Life(Random House, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • Sargent, Pamela • Seed Seeker(Tor, hc)
  • will try on publication

  • Snyder, Lucy A. • Shotgun Sorceress(Ballantine Del Rey)
  • no interest

  • + Stroud, Jonathan • Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon(Disney-Hyperion, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • Swenson, Patrick, ed. • The Best of Talebones(Fairwood Press, anth, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Valente, Catherynne M. • The Habitation of the Blessed(Night Shade Books, tpb)
  • will try if it comes into my hands or a large sample is available

  • VanderMeer, Ann, & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. • Steampunk Reloaded(Tachyon Publications, anth, tpb)
  • will try if it comes into my hands or a large sample is available

  • Warrington, Freda • Midsummer Night(Tor, hc)
  • asked for an arc and got it; blew me away, one of the best 2010 novels I've read; review in due course

  • Williams, Tad • Shadowheart(DAW, hc)
    no interest
***********************************************************************

March 2011

  • Barnes, John • Daybreak Zero(Ace, hc)
  • will check on publication; unlikely to try it though

  • Beagle, Peter S. • Sleight of Hand(Tachyon Publications, cln, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Bear, Elizabeth • Grail(Ballantine Spectra)
  • no interest

  • Bishop, Anne • Twilight's Dawn(Roc, cln, hc)
  • no interest

  • Buckner, M. M. • Gravity Pilot(Tor, hc)
  • will try on publication

  • Bullington, Jesse • The Enterprise of Death(Orbit, tpb)
  • an arc would be nice, will try and maybe read on publication otherwise; this one sounds much more interesting than the author's debut and it may be a 'sleeper" top 2011 book for me

  • del Toro, Guillermo, & Chuck Hogan • Eternal Night(Morrow, hc)
  • no interest

  • Feist, Raymond E. • A Kingdom Besieged(Harper Voyager, hc)
  • no interest

  • + Fforde, Jasper • One of Our Thursdays Is Missing(Viking, hc)
  • no interest

  • Furey, Maggie • Exodus of the Xandim(Gollancz, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Gentle, Mary • Black Opera(Night Shade Books, tpb)
  • high, high interest and top anticipated novel of 2011, will try and get it asap; not sure about publication date, but this one is an apriori best of 2011 candidate

  • Godwin, Parke • The Prince from Nowhere(PS Publishing, nva, hc)
  • no interest

  • Gustainis, Justin, ed. • Those Who Fight Monsters(Hades/EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy, anth, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Harrison, Kim • Pale Demon(Eos, hc)
  • no interest

  • Herbert, James • Ash(Macmillan UK, hc)
  • no interest

  • Howe, Harrison, ed. • It Never Sleeps: Tales from the Darker History of New York City(PS Publishing, anth, hc)
  • no interest

  • Jakober, Marie • The Demon Left Behind(Hades Publications/EDGE SF and Fantasy, tpb)
  • will look at it, most likely no interest

  • Kent, Jasper • The Third Section(Bantam UK, tpb)
  • will try on publication and hope it will revert to Twelve's form rather than the somewhat disappointing Thirteen Years Later

  • Lynch, Scott • The Republic of Thieves(Ballantine Spectra, hc)
  • make or break series book for me though the excerpt so far is disappointing since I am tired of the 'buddy, buddy" storyline.. an arc will be nice but a try/read on publication otherwise

  • Matheson, Richard • Other Kingdoms(Tor, hc)
  • no interest

  • McKenna, Bridget, & Marti McKenna, eds. • End of an Aeon(Fairwood Press, anth, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Moon, Elizabeth • Kings of the North(Ballantine Del Rey, hc)
  • no interest

  • Remic, Andy • Cloneworld(Solaris, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Rothfuss, Patrick • The Wise Man's Fear(DAW, hc)
  • high expectations book, will try and get and read asap; another apriori candidate to top of 2011

  • Strahan, Jonathan, ed. • The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Five(Night Shade Books, anth, tpb)
    will look at it
***********************************************************************

May 2011

  • Anderson, Kevin J., ed. • Nebula Awards Showcase 2011(Tor, anth, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Canavan, Trudi • The Rogue(Orbit US, hc)
  • no interest

  • Deas, Stephen • The Order of the Scales(Gollancz, hc/tpb)
  • asap novel, will read on arrival, very high expectations book and top anticipated book of 2011

  • + Erikson, Steven • The Crack'd Pot Trail(Tor, nva, hc)
  • no interest

  • Foss, Chris • The Art of Chris Foss(Titan Books, art, hc)
  • no interest

  • Freeman, Pamela • Ember and Ash(Orbit, tpb)
  • will try on publication and maybe read the trilogy ending Full Circle in the process; I liked the first two books in the milieu but the third dropped on my pile for now and this, the fourth, may be the spark to rekindle my interest

  • + Hobb, Robin • Inheritance(Eos, hc)
  • no interest

  • Hobson, M. K. • The Hidden Goddess(Ballantine Spectra)
  • will look at it, but most likely no interest

  • Lachlan, M. D. • Fenrir(Gollancz, hc)
  • will look at it, but most likely no interest

  • Lee, Tanith • Court of the Crow(Night Shade Books, hc)
  • no interest

  • Martinez, A. Lee • Catching the Moon(Orbit US, hc)
  • no interest

  • McCaffrey, Anne, & Todd McCaffrey • Dragon's Time(Bantam UK, hc)
  • no interest

  • MiĆ©ville, China • Embassytown(Ballantine Del Rey, hc)
  • high, high expectations book; will read asap; top 10 expected sf of 2011

  • + Rajaniemi, Hannu • The Quantum Thief(Tor, hc)
  • I assume I have made my mind already based on the September 2010 UK edition - either a top book or a not for me one, depending on how the author' style matches my taste

  • Roberts, Adam • Beggar's Banquet(Gollancz, hc/tpb)
  • high expectations book; will read/review asap as I do with all of the author's (original) work

  • Rusch, Kristine Kathryn • City of Ruins(Pyr, tpb)
  • will try though unlikely to be of interest

  • Scalzi, John • Fuzzy Nation(Tor, hc)
  • no interest

  • Valentine, Genevieve • Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti(Prime Books, tpb)
  • will take a look and decide the interest then

  • Whates, Ian • The Noise Revealed(Solaris)
  • beg for an arc book; one of the top anticipated sf of mine in 2011 and of course very, very high expectations
  • Wilson, Robert Charles • Vortex(Tor, hc)
  • will ask for an arc and will read asap; another very high expectation sf of 2011 especially that the author never disappointed me - I may not have loved equally all his novels, but I never found one I did not like


***********************************************************************

June 2011

  • + Abraham, Daniel • The Dragon's Path(Orbit US, tpb)
  • interesting one; will try and see if my dislike of the author's acclaimed tetralogy was a fluke or it is just that his writing style does not chime with my taste; try on publication, though an arc will be nice

  • Baxter, Stephen • The Bronze Summer(Gollancz, hc/tpb)
  • may spark my interest in getting the first book in the series - update, got Stone Spring and did not like it that much so far, but will try again

  • Carey, Jacqueline • Naamah's Blessing(Grand Central, hc)
  • beg for an arc, read asap and a very high expectations fantasy of 2011

  • Carroll, Lee • The Watchtower(Bantam UK, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Duncan, Dave • When the Saints(Tor, hc)
  • no interest

  • Englehart, Steve • The Plain Man(Tor, hc)
  • will look at it, but unlikely to be of interest

  • Goonan, Katherine • Collection(PS Publishing, cln, hc)
  • no interest

  • Grant, Mira • Deadline(Orbit US)
  • no interest

  • Hamilton, Laurell K. • Hit List(Berkley, hc)
  • no interest

  • Hartwell, David G., & Kathryn Cramer, eds. • Year's Best SF 16(Eos, anth)
  • will look at it

  • Horton, Rich, ed. • The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2011 Edition(Prime Books, anth, tpb)
  • will look at it

  • Kowal, Mary Robinette, ed. • The Hugo Award Showcase, 2011 Volume(Prime Books, anth, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Martin, George R. R., ed. • Wild Cards: Fort Freak(Tor, anth, hc)
  • no interest

  • Newton, Mark Charan • Book of Transformations(Tor UK, hc)
  • beg for an arc, read asap, a top 10 anticipated fantasy of 2011

  • Rawn, Melanie • The Diviner(DAW, hc)
  • no interest

  • Sinclair, Alison • Shadowborn(Roc, tpb)
  • no interest

  • Sparks, Cat • Effigy(Angry Robot, tpb)
  • will look it, cannot say offhand

  • Steele, Allen • Hex(Ace, hc)
  • no interest most likely, but will take a look just in case

  • van Eekhout, Greg • Last(Bloomsbury USA, nvl-ya, hc)
  • no interest

  • Vaughn, Carrie • Kitty's Big Trouble(Gollancz)
  • no interest

  • Yep, Laurence • City of Ice(Starscape, nvl-ya, hc)
    will look at it since I heard good things about the author

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do you mean by "an arc would be nice" and other similar comments?

Liviu said...

an arc is an advanced reviewer copy and I get some but I try to get only the ones I am really interested in and which I plan to review regardless of how I obtain them - an arc also offers the possibility of timely review around the publication date since if I have to get the book for myself, it needs to be published, then I need to get it, then read it - and usually I have a bunch of books on tap, so it depends on my degree of interest - and then I like to leave at least a week and some other books between reading and reviewing to have the book "settle" in my mind.

So as an example Room was published on Sept 13 and I got it soon after and read it asap since it hooked me, with the review appearing Sept 24, while my next review - The House on Durrow Street - I got an arc some months ago, read it asap too as a high expectqtions book, put minireviews on Goodreads/sffworld and Mo/Tue the full review will appear for its publication date Sept 28.

I plan to do a post about how I decide what/when to review also, again "a case study" like this with concrete books rather than general stuff, but as an example, this week I was planning to review The Crown of the Blood - another book I read months ago with review planned for ~pub day - but both Sword and the Dragon and Room came out of nowhere and I *had* to review those first to move on.

For early October I had a tentative schedule and now there are two or three books that may wreak havoc with it since all have the potential of being high priority asap's - have one as an arc, one is published October 3 and i will get it that day and one October 5 which i may get as an arc or just get it on publication otherwise.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid you've already narrowed your sample too much by using the Locus list, which is fairly conservative.

JeffV

Liviu said...

The Locus list is just one of many I use, so I will get tons of other books from other places.

I used this one just as a "case study" since it has many books, but I agree that the sample is not complete by any means even for sff.


As a recent example I got Aurorarama from the Omnivoracious (extended) list - did a post a while back - about that list too

And of course there are lots of non-sff books I am interested in, though finding them is more erratic (store browsing, lists of upcoming historical fiction, Booker nominations, titles that jump online in front of my eye and seem cool - The Notebook/The proof/The Third Lie is a recent example of the last category I plan to review in a week or two..)

Mad Professah said...

How do I get an ARC?

I will definitely be reading the new books by Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss and Robert Charles Wilson. I'll possibly read the new China Mievilee because its supposed to be sci-fi, although I really disliked his latest, Kraken

Liviu said...

usually arcs go to reviewers depending on various factors and on how much you hustle for them...

The Lynch and Rothfuss ones will be in high demand so I am not going to bother too much - as mentioned if I get one it's nice but if not I will get the books on publication and anyway they will have tons of publicity, reviews and such.

Anonymous said...

Liviu,

thanks for clearing the arc thing up, I was thinking that you were looking for trilogies etc. and was wondering what you had against one-off novels :-)

I found it a very interesting post

cheers

Martin

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “The Abyss Beyond Dreams”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “Unholy War”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “Station Eleven”

Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “The Knight”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “The Dark Defiles”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “Tom Swan and The Siege of Belgrade 1”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “City of Stairs”
Review HERE

NOTEWORTHY RELEASES

Click here to find out more about “Bete”
Review HERE