Archive for the ‘Featured Books’ Category
1) Madeline Ashby will be here on Saturday May 21st to launch her new novel Company Town. Cyborgs! Conspiracies! Cookies! Join us at 3pm.
2) Lake Ontario is still too cold to swim in. Trust me on this.
3) Only morons drink and drive. Be safe.
We’ve had a number of author events in the past few weeks. Which means we also have recently-signed books by a number of your favourite authors. Like:
Guy Gavriel Kay
Robert J. Sawyer
Just so you know…
Tomorrow, Saturday April 30th, is Authors For Indies Day. All across the country, authors will volunteer as guest booksellers, meeting customers and making suggestions. Because we’ll be at Ad Astra, we had to make the tough call this year, and won’t have any authors at the store. Except, of course, for Michelle Sagara (who, let’s face it, would be here anyway).
We did, however, reach out to many of the attending Ad Astra authors to ask for their recommendations. We’ll have a window display of there here at the store, and a similar set-up at the convention (though not all books will be in both locations). But in case you’ll be too busy visiting the GTA’s other awesome independent bookstores to stop by, here’s a list of their top picks.
MADELINE ASHBY recommends: Experimental Film, by Gemma Files, and Windswept by Adam Rakunas.
GERALD BRANDT recommends: Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb, and Zero World, by Jason M. Hough.
A.M. DELLAMONICA recommends: Blindsight, by Peter Watts, and Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squardron Saves The Day, by A.C. Wise.
CHADWICK GINTHER recommends: Owl And The Japanese Circus, by Kristi Charrish, and Chaos Choreography, by Seanan McGuire.
K.V. JOHANSEN recommends: Complete Morgaine, by C.J. Cherryh, and Dust And Light, by Carol Berg.
GUY GAVRIEL KAY recommends: Dervish House, by Ian McDonald, and Bloody Chamber, by Angela Carter.
ADRIENNE KRESS recommends: Nest, by Kenneth Oppel, and Pattern Scars, by Caitlin Sweet.
ROBERT J. SAWYER recommends: Gateway, by Frederick Pohl, and Darwinia, by Robert Charles Wilson.
KARINA SUMNER-SMITH recommends: Borderline, by Mishell Baker, and City Of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett.
It’s always fun to look back at which titles sold best over the course of the year. Here they are, by format (an * means ‘Canadian author’).
1. Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
2. Rendezvous With Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
3. Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
4. Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch
5. Name Of The Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
6. Written In Red, Anne Bishop
7. Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor
8. Hounded, Kevin Hearne
9. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
10. Dune, Frank Herbert
1. Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
2. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick
3. Vn, Madeline Ashby*
4. Lilith’s Brood, Octavia Butler
5. The Martian, Andy Weir
6. Virga, Karl Schroeder*
7. Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie
8. ST: The Klingon Dictionary, Marc Okrand
9. Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie
10. Defiant, Karina Sumner-Smith*
1. Scorpion Rules, Erin Bow*
2. Inheritance Of Ashes, Leah Bobet*
3. Fangirl’s Guide To The Galaxy, Sam Maggs*
4. Shepherd’s Crown, Terry Pratchett
5. Uprooted, Naomi Novik
6. Book Of Spirits And Thieves, Morgan Rhodes*
7. An Ancient Peace, Tanya Huff*
8. The Affinities, Robert Charles Wilson*
9. Prairie Fire, E.K. Johnston*
10. Just City, Jo Walton*
- It’s not surprising to see Canadians dominate the hardcover list; we launch a lot of books for local(ish) authors. Like, a LOT.
- The #1 mass market paperback sold more than twice as much as #2. Because we loved it. Handselling works.
- Ann Leckie owned our trade paperback list this year.
- These top 10s aside, our most-sold author this year was Terry Pratchett. Only two of his titles made this list, but overall, we sold more of his titles to more people than any other single author. Which isn’t entirely suprising. And makes us happy.
And finally, things we love that don’t fit into any of the previous categories.
Art Of Language Invention, David J. Peterson
SFF fans, writers, game creators, and language lovers in general, this is an overview on how to create languages for fun (and possibly profit), by someone who has done it for Marvel and HBO. Fun and fascinating.
Everybody’s favourite personal health monitor, now in squeezable plush form. And he talks, too. So cute!
Discworld Atlas, Terry Pratchett
I’m not yet able to read Shepherd’s Crown, but I’ve loved flipping through the Atlas. An invaluable reference for the lover of Discworld.
Penguin Science Fiction Postcards
100 of Penguin’s most interesting (and bizzare) SF covers, in postcard form. Artistically diverse, and practically hallucinogenic.
Step Aside, Pops, Kate Beaton
If you don’t already know who Kate Beaton is, you’ve been missing out on some of the smartest, funniest cartoons around. History, politics, literature — nothing is off the radar in this, her second fantastic collection.
Thing Explainer, Randall Munroe
The creator of xkcd explains complicated ideas and objects using only the 1000 most common English words. Delightful and educational all at the same time.
Today, books for younger readers.
The Awesome, Eva Darrows
What starts as a 17-year-old monster hunter Maggie’s quest to lose her virginity for one reason only (qualifying for her journeyman’s vampire-hunter license) turns into a smart, funny, suprisingly involving look at what self-acceptance really means, and how real releationships with your real family are so much more complicated – and better – than you think. The book has blood and gore and dirty jokes out the butt, but it also has a hell of a lot of substance and grace.
Blackthorn Key, Kevin Sands
Christopher Rowe is happy as an apothecary’s apprentice: solving puzzles, learning about medicine, occasionally blowing things up along the way. But when a mysterious cult begins to murder London’s apothecaries, Christopher must muster everything he’s learned to save his master, and quite possibly the world. Smart, adventurous reading.
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson
Nimona join villian Lord Ballister Blackheart in his vendetta against Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and the rest of the Institution of Law Enforcement And Heroics. But none of them – not Nimona, Ambrosius, or Blackheart himself – are entirely what they seem to be, which makes for a funny, fast-paced, and remarkably moving graphic novel.
Pocket Full Of Murder, R.J. Anderson
Isaveth’s father has been arrested for a murder he did not commit. It will take all her ingenuity, perserverance, and spell-craft to find the evidence that will free him. Luckily, she has the assistance of Quiz, an enterprising boy who knows his way around the city, especially the higher class areas where impovrished families like hers never go. But everything they discover points in the direction of the highest nobility, dangerous territory for a poor Moscite like Isaveth. Engaging characters, and solid world-building.
Voices In Between, Charlene Challenger
Adoni, who lives with her abusive mother, hears Ritter singing in the alley beneath her window, and is drawn down to meet him. Ritter brings Adoni to The Welcome, the northern colony of the In-Between world, where young people are protected by the immortal pipers. But when The Welcome is attached by changelings, Adoni must find the strength and courage to stop the oncoming war. Brave, wrenching, loving, and wise.
Up today, Science Fiction
An Ancient Peace, Tanya Huff
Ex-Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr is back, and taking a run at civilian life. Sort of. Pragmatic, practical, she does the job that needs doing and she gets it done. But she doesn’t have the weight of the Confederate Army at her back anymore, and she’s landing planetside on worlds in which the occupants are trying to kill her or her crew. You can read this as a kind of non-stop rollercoaster ride, or you can read it and note the things that Torin’s beginning to notice about her own instinctive reactions and her place as an ex-soldier in a civilian universe. Either way, read it!
The Expanse Series (5 books and counting), James S.A. Corey
Space opera meets noir mystery in this exciting series (now a major TV series on Space!). Start with Leviathan Wakes, and meet Holden and Miller. The former makes runs from Saturn’s rings to the Asteroid Belt and is in possession of a dangerous secret; the latter is a detective looking for a missing girl with wealthy and influential parents. Together, they have to tread the gossamer-thin line between the Earth government, powerful corporations, and a rebellion about to happen.
The Martian, Andy Weir
NASA astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars, left for dead after an emergency forces his team to abort the mission. He can McGyver the hell out of anything, but will it be enough to keep him alive through the four years it’ll take another team to pick him up? Assuming he can figure out how to tell Earth he survived…?
A fantastic book — the best kind of hard SF, where the science meshes with the story and both are good enough to get you excited and keep you reading for hours.
My Real Children, Jo Walton
Simultaneously the anatomy of one dementia-stricken woman’s choice between histories – and lives, worlds, children – and not one but TWO subtley alternate histories, My Real Children‘s simplicity belies how skillfully it’s balanced. There are a lot of balls in the air here, and yet they don’t feel overly complex or overwhelming. The end result is seamless. Recommended for fans of subtle alternative history, literary SF, and strong craft.
Transferral, Kate Blair
Talia Hale’s father is running for Prime Mister of a Britain where everything from a cold to a life-threatening disease can be transferred to another human host, and illness has become the criminal sentence of choice. After Talia saves a young girl from a violent man, she’s hailed as a tough-on-crime campagn hero. But the attack is more complex than it seems, and in searching for the girl, Talia realizes her whole world is, too. Brimming with subtle worldbuilding and deft characterization, it’s a slim little book that punches way above its weight and balances commentary with an emotionally satisfying, fast-paced story.
We’re often asked for recommendations at this time of year. Which we love — there’s nothing we like more than talking about books. Here are some of our go-to Fantasy picks this year.
Foxglove Summer, Ben Aaronovitch
Peter Grant is off-balance. Not only is he still reeling from the consequences of his last encounter with an evil magician, but he is also physically removed from London, neither of which states bears thinking about. But he’s still a cop. So Peter’s determined to contribute both his professional skills and his, erm, more esoteric talents to help the local police find two missing girls. Of course, it’s his magical talents that will help the most. With luck, they might even keep him alive. Maybe.
The latest in Aaronovitch’s funny and moving ‘Rivers Of London’ series.
Inheritance of Ashes, Leah Bobet
Sisters Hallie and Marthe own Roadstead Farm. Marthe’s husband Thom went to war. The war was won, but Thom’s still gone, and might never return. Those who do return rarely come back whole. Roadstead Farm is struggling, and the conflicts on the homestead are as immediate to Hallie and Marthe as the war was to the soldiers who fought it. Bobet’s charcters are both flawed and more than the sum of their flaws; they’re real people, struggling in difficult times to become better people. It’s about the very human ways we make stories out of life, and the way those stories can hurt us. And it’s also about hope, and family.
Pen Pal, Francesca Forrest
12-year-old Emlee sends a message in a bottle from her floating community off the Gulf coast — and it reaches Kaya, a political activist who’s imprisoned over a volcano crater for fomenting revolution.They are both, in their slight and nuanced ways, talking to their gods. And that doesn’t sound life much, but the book has a diverse cast of three-dimensional people who spill off the page, thoughtful politics, a vibrant world, a real point, and an involving plot.
Thoughtful, beautiful, quietly earth-shaking fiction for fans of literary fantasy.
Scorpion Rules, Erin Bow
In the near future, Talis, a sentient AI, has created an era of glabal peace by the dual threat of Earth’s entire nuclear arsenal, and the Children of Peace, the heirs to the world’s nations, kept hostage in his shcool. Bow understand systems of control and people both, and there are no easy answers. The prose is so clear and sharp it glitters, but is never intrusive; the consequences are absolutely gut-wrenching, but never gratuitous. A brilliant, gorgeous rethink of the interplay between dystopian worlds, systems of power, and very flesh-and-blood people.
Uprooted, Naomi Novik
The wizard named Dragon protects all the towns within reach of the dangerous and magical Wood. Every ten years he chooses a young woman from one of those towns to live in his remote tower. Agnieszka knows it will be her dearest friend Kasia, the bravest and brightest of her cohort. But Kasia is not Dragon’s choice. And nothing will be the same again; not Agnieszka, not Dragon, not the Wood, not even Polnya itself.
A gorgeous moving, magical folk tale, half-familiar and half-dream, full of magic, friendship, sacrifce, and family. Wonderful!
We’ve worked with a lot of amazing authors this year (and we mean A LOT). Which means we’ve also had many, many books signed for us (see earlier parenthesis). And you know what makes a cool gift? A signed book. Just saying…
We have signed books from the following authors:
Christian Cameron / Miles Cameron
Julie E. Czerneda
Charles de Lint
Michelle Sagara / Michelle West
Daniel Scott Tysdal
Robert J. Wiersema
Robert J. Wilson
We also have signed copies of:
Welcome To Night Vale, Joseph Fine & Jeffrey Cantor
Aickman’s Heirs, Simon Strantzas, editor
Carbide Tipped Pens, Eric Choi & Ben Bova, editors