Armstrong, Karen :
A Short History of Myth
(Grove/Canongate Books 1-84195-716-X, $18, 159pp, hardcover, November 2005) First US edition (Canada: Canongate, October 2005)
Nonfiction book about why humans make myths, the introductory volume in "The Myths" series of books, published near-simultaneously in two dozen countries in October and November.
Canongate Books' site has this page about the series and its launch. The other two debut volumes, by Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson, are listed below.
Claude Lalumière reviewed the three debut volumes for Locus Online.
Amazon has the Publishers Weekly review and also Elizabeth Hand's review from Washington Post, in which she calls Armstrong's book "serviceable".
Atwood, Margaret :
(Grove/Canongate Books 1-84195-717-8, $18, 15+199pp, hardcover, November 2005) First US edition (Canada: Canongate, October 2005)
Short novel in Canongate's "Myths" series, retelling the story of Penelope, Odysseus' wife, and what she was up to while her husband was away fighting the Trojan War.
Claude Lalumière's review for Locus Online called this "easily one of the year's best books".
Amazon excerpts the author's foreword from the book, and has reader reviews.
Baker, Kage :
(SFBC 0-7394-6144-3, $14.99, 611pp, hardcover, December 2005, jacket art Bruce Jensen)
Omnibus of two novels in Baker's "Company" series about immortal time travelers from the 24th century mining Earth's past: The Life of the World to Come (2004) and The Children of the Company (2005).
This edition is available exclusively from the SF Book Club, whose website has this description by club editor Andrew Wheeler. The club offers two previous omnibuses of Kage Baker novels, On Company Time (1999) and In Bad Company (2001).
Colavito, Jason :
The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture
(Prometheus 1-59102-352-1, $19, 398pp, trade paperback, December 2005)
Nonfiction study of how various "alternative histories" -- ideas that aliens visited Earth and built the pyramids, etc., as claimed in the works of Erich von Däniken and many others -- actually derive from the fictional works of H.P. Lovecraft.
The book includes 8 pages of black and white photos, Notes, Bibliography, and Index.
The publisher's site has this description, which is also reproduced on the Amazon page.
Jason Colavito's site includes the table of contents, a short list of errata, and background on the author.
Amazon has the Publishers Weekly review, which says the author combines "literary theory, cultural criticism and muckraking": "He does a fair job of presenting his case, using a great deal of textual analysis, but believers will dismiss it as yet another attempt to suppress the 'truth,' while those who haven't been immersed in the literature are likely to be bewildered or indifferent."
Davidson, MaryJanice :
Betsy the Vampire Queen
(SFBC 0-7394-6139-7, $14.99, 707pp, hardcover, December 2005, jacket art Walter Velez)
Omnibus of four novels in the humorous fantasy series about Betsy Taylor, unemployed secretary turned Vampire Queen.
The individual titles are Undead and Unwed, Undead and Unemployed, Undead and Unappreciated, and Undead and Unreturnable, first published by Berkley Sensation in 2004 and 2005.
This edition is available exclusively from the SF Book Club, whose website has this description and reader reviews.
Gopnik, Adam :
The King in the Window
(Hyperion/Miramax 0-7868-1862-X, $19.95, 412pp, hardcover, October 2005, jacket illustration Thomas Woodruff)
Young adult fantasy novel about an American boy living in Paris who becomes involved in a war between window and mirror spirits. Interior illustrations are by Omar Rayyan.
This is the first YA book by Gopnik, known for articles in The New Yorker and the book Paris to the Moon.
Amazon has a review by Jennifer Hubert, who calls it a "mixed bag of fantasy, technology and history that doesn't quite hang together as a whole.... less would have been much more."
Elizabeth Hand reviewed the book in the January issue of F&SF, calling it "a spectacularly fine children's novel", concluding "The King in the Window seems like the real thing to me, a book both wise and witty that, like the fine wines the redoubtable Mrs. Pearson savors, will withstand the test of time."
Marsden, John :
Out of Time
(Tor Teen 0-765-31412-6, $16.95, 127pp, hardcover, October 2005, jacket art Craig Phillips) First US edition (Australia: Pan Macmillan, 1990)
Short SF novel, first published in Australia in 1990, about a boy who takes a time machine from the lab of a deceased scientist.
The book's Australian publisher has this description with a brief excerpt.
Amazon has the Booklist review, which calls it an "odd, intriguing novella"; "sophisticated YAs will enjoy chasing its elusive ripples of meaning".
Niffenegger, Audrey :
The Three Incestuous Sisters
(Abrams 0-8109-5927-5, $27.95, unppp, hardcover, October 2005) First US edition (UK: Jonathan Cape, September 2005)
Oversized 'illustrated novel' by the author of The Time-Traveler's Wife about three sisters living together in a remote coastal house. The art consists of full-page 'aquatints' that reviewers compare to the work of Edward Gorey, with brief prose passages on facing pages.
Amazon has reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, the latter concluding "Niffenegger's grim yet erotic tale and stunningly moody gothic prints possess the sly subversion of Edward Gorey, the emotional valence of Edvard Munch, and her very own brilliant use of iconographic pattern, surprising perspective, and tensile line in the service of a delectable, otherworldly sensibility."
Karen Haber reviews the book in the January issue of Locus Magazine: "The book's dignified design and limited palette are a considerable contrast to Niffenegger's flamboyantly weird dark fantasy tale of three sisters and their experience (in no particular order) of love, envy, telepathy, violence, birth, mutations, death, magic, ghosts, and multi-dimensional happy endings. Don't be misled by the title: the only incest that occurs, if it can be called incest at all, is of a telepathic/psychological nature."
Preiss, Byron, & Howard Zimmerman, eds. :
The Year's Best Graphic Novels, Comics, and Manga
(St. Martin's Griffin 0-312-34326-4, $19.95, 272pp, trade paperback, December 2005)
Anthology sampling work from the the previous year-plus in graphic novels, comics, and manga, with sections for each plus a final section of "best of the rest". The selectons are from mid-2003 through the end of 2004. Introduction by Neil Gaiman.
BudPlant.com has this description.
Green Man Review has this review by April Gutierrez, which describes many of the selections.
Nonfiction writers' manual that grew out of the Writing the Other workshop addressing how writers portray characters whose ethnic background, gender, sexual preference, or age differ significantly from their own.
The publisher's site has this background and description.
The main section of the book, by Shawl and Ward, includes several exercises for writers, and is followed by bibliographies of works cited and of recommended reading/viewing. Two short essays by Shawl alone follow, concluding with an excerpt from Shawl's forthcoming novel The Blazing World.
Silverthorne, Lisa :
The Sound of Angels
(Wildside Press 0-8095-5606-5, $17.95, 190pp, trade paperback, November 2005, cover art Rita Isabel, cover design Garry Nurrish)
Collection of 19 Stories, with an introduction by Dean Wesley Smith. Three of the stories are original to this book; the others first appeared from 1994 through 2004 in publications such as Galaxy, Bending the Landscape, and Jeffry Dwight's SFF Net anthology Age of Wonders.
The publisher's site has this catalog page for the book with a brief description. The book also has its own webpage, www.thesoundofangels.com.
The book is also available in hardcover.
The title story is available from Fictionwise.com.
Winterson, Jeanette :
(Grove/Canongate Books 1-84195-718-6, $18, 16+151pp, hardcover, November 2005) First US edition (UK: Canongate, October 2005)
Short novel in Canongate's "Myths" series, about the meeting between Atlas and Heracles
Claude Lalumière's review for Locus Online said the characters are fascinating but the book's "potential is squandered".
Amazon excerpts the author's foreword from the book, and has reader reviews.
Yancey, Rick :
The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp
(Bloomsbury 1-58234-693-3, $16.95, 339pp, hardcover, October 2005, jacket illustration Nicholas Yarger)
Young adult fantasy novel about a 15-year-old who comes into possession of the sword Excalibur and becomes the target of international forces that want it back. It's the first YA book by the author, who's written adult books and been a theater critic, and first in a series.
The publisher's site has this description along with quotes from reviews, a conversation with the author, etc.
There's also series website www.alfredkropp.com with an excerpt, downloads, and extras.
Carolyn Cushman reviewed it in the December '05 issue of Locus Magazine, saying "This young-adult fantasy is the equivalent of an action-adventure movie or men's adventure. ... The fantasy takes a definite backseat to the action."