sábado, 6 de febrero de 2016

Novedad: The Best of Bova, Volume 1

Baen ha puesto a la venta el primer volumen dedicado a recopilar los mejores relatos cortos de Ben Bova que se titula, como no podía ser de otra forma, The Best of Bova. La siguiente entrega se publicará en julio. 

Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:
VOLUME 1 IN A STERLING COLLECTION OF STORIES FROM LEGENDARY HARD SCIENCE FICTION MASTER BEN BOVA. Selected stories from Bova's amazing career at the center of science fiction and space advocacy. He is the creator of the New York Times best-selling Grand Tour science fiction series, a six time Hugo award winner, and past president of the National Space Society. 
Volume #1 of 3 of the very best of Ben Bova, a grand master of science fiction storytelling. These stories span the five decades of Bova's incandescent career. 
Here are tales of star-faring adventure, peril, and drama. Here are journeys into the mind-bending landscapes of virtual worlds and alternate realities. Here you'll also find stories of humanity's astounding future on Earth, on Mars, and in the Solar System beyond—stories that always get the science right. And Bova's gathering of deeply realized, totally human characters are the heroic, brave, tricky, sometimes dastardly engineers, astronauts, corporate magnates, politicians, and scientists who will make these futures possible—and those who often find that the problems of tomorrow are always linked to human values, and human failings, that are as timeless as the stars.

viernes, 5 de febrero de 2016

Novedad: Graft, de Matth Hill

Angry Robot ha puesto esta semana a la venta Graft, de Matt Hill. Ésta es la sinopsis de la novela:
Manchester, 2025. Local mechanic Sol steals old vehicles to meet the demand for spares. But when Sol’s partner impulsively jacks a luxury model, Sol finds himself caught up in a nightmarish trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy. 
Hidden in the stolen car is a voiceless, three-armed woman called Y. She’s had her memory removed and undertaken a harrowing journey into a world she only vaguely recognises. And someone waiting in the UK expects her delivery at all costs. 
Now Sol and Y are on the run from both Y’s traffickers and the organisation’s faithful products. With the help of a dangerous triggerman and Sol’s ex, they must uncover the true, terrifying extent of the trafficking operation, or it’s all over. Not that there was much hope to start with. 
A novel about the horror of exploitation and the weight of love, Graft imagines a country in which too many people are only worth what’s on their price tag.

Novedad: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, de Lois McMaster Bujold

Ya está a la venta Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, de Lois McMaster Bujold, la nueva entrega de la famosa saga de Vorkosigan. 

Ésta es su sinopsis:
Three years after her famous husband’s death, Cordelia Vorkosigan, widowed Vicereine of Sergyar, stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he’d never imagined, bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his career. 
Meanwhile, Miles Vorkosigan, one of Emperor Gregor’s key investigators, this time dispatches himself on a mission of inquiry, into a mystery he never anticipated – his own mother. 
Plans, wills, and expectations collide in this sparkling science-fiction social comedy, as the impact of galactic technology on the range of the possible changes all the old rules, and Miles learns that not only is the future not what he expects, neither is the past.

jueves, 4 de febrero de 2016

Can & Can'takerous, de Harlan Ellison


Banda sonora de la reseña: Sugiero leer esta reseña escuchando Sarsaparilla, de Unkle Ho (Spotify).

Cuando era un niño, me encantaba leer las antologías de los Premios Hugo de Isaac Asimov y recuerdo encontrar en ellas montones de historias escritas por Harlan Ellison. Títulos como "¡Arrepiéntete, Arlequín!, dijo el señor Tic-tac", "No tengo boca y debo gritar" o "A la deriva frente a los islotes de Langerhans: Latitud 38º 54' N, Longitud 77º00'13'' O" simplemente hacían que se me salieran los ojos de las órbitas, aunque debo confesar que no siempre entendía muy bien los contenidos de los relatos. También tengo muy buenos recuerdos de Visiones peligrosas, que recuerdo haber llevado conmigo a través del Océano en una viaje para visitar a mi familia de México cuando tenía 13 años (aunque, de nuevo, muchos de los relatos resultaban demasiado complejos o sutiles para mí en aquel momento).

Curiosamente, en los más de 20 años siguientes, con la excepción de una o dos historias leídas aquí o allá, no tuve ningún otro contacto con la obra de Harlan Ellison, algo que, siendo un fan confeso de la CF, me da un poco de vergüenza. De hecho, el año pasado compré The Top of the Volcano como parte del Subterranean Press Humble Bundle y he tenido la intención de leerlo desde hace ya algún tiempo. Sin embargo, tuve la oportunidad de hacerme con una copia para reseña de Can & Can'takerous, la más reciente colección de relatos de Ellison, y decidí darle una oportunidad en su lugar. Creo que no fue una idea demasiado acertada.

No me malinterpretéis. No digo que Can & Can'takerous sea, en modo alguno, un mal libro. Pero puede que no sea el mejor sitio para empezar si no estáis familiarizados con la obra de Harlan Ellison. Las historias incluidas en el libro son las más recientemente escritas y publicadas por el autor (la más antigua es de 1999) y muchas de ellas están relacionadas con otras anteriores, como por ejemplos es el caso de "Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts" o "From A to Z, in the Sarsaparilla Alphabet". Es más, los apéndices incluyen varias reproducciones de los originales mecanografiados (en algunos casos con notas a mano) de ciertos relatos. Todo esto, probablemente, será especialmente apreciado por los fans más acérrimos de Ellison.

Para mi gusto, sin embargo, muchas de las historias son buenas o aceptables, pero no excelentes. Algunas, de hecho, me resultaron demasiado extrañas, demasiado peregrinas o demasiado paródicas (como es el caso de "The Toad Prince, or, Sex Queen of the Martian Pleasure-Domes", la obra más larga del libro, que fui incapaz de terminar de leer). Sí que me gustó "How Interesting: A Tiny Man", posiblemente el mejor relato de la colección (de hecho, ganó el Premio Hugo) y los interludios cortos en el que el autor relata la experiencia de su ataque al corazón como si fuera un cuento más. Y, por supuesto, debo decir que la edición es muy bonita y que el material extra (los originales de los que hablaba arriba) es muy interesante desde un punto de vista histórico.

Pero sopesándolo todo, creo que Can & Can'takerous es un libro que será sobre todo disfrutado por aquellos ya familiarizados con la obra de Harlan Ellison. Para el resto de lectores, entre los que me incluyo, podría ser mejor idea comenzar con The Top of the Volcano y luego revisitar esta otra colección.

(You can also read this review in English/También puedes leer esta reseña en inglés)         

Can & Can'takerous, by Harlan Ellison


(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)

Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to Sarsaparilla, by Unkle Ho (Spotify).

When I was a child I loved to read Isaac Asimov's Hugo Awards anthologies and I remember finding many stories by Harlan Ellison. Titles such as "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman", "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" or "Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans: Latitude 38º 54' N, Longitude 77º00'13'' W" simply blew my mind away, although I must confess that I did not always understand the contents of the stories. I have also fond memories of Dangerous Visions, which I remember carrying with me across the ocean on a trip to visit my family in Mexico when I was 13 (though, again, some of the stories where too complex or subtle for me at that time).

Oddly enough, for more than twenty years, with the exception of one or two short stories read here or there, I had no other contact with Harlan Ellison's work, something that, being a hard-core SF, fan really puts me to shame. In fact, last year I bought The Top of the Volcano as part of the Subterranean Press Humble Bundle and I've had the intention of reading it for some time now. However, I had the chance of getting a review copy of Can & Can'takerous, newest Ellison's collection, and decided to give a try instead. I think it was not the best of the ideas.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean that Can & Can'takerous is a bad book by any means, but maybe it is not the best place to start if you are not familiar with the work of Harlan Ellison. The stories included in the book are the most recent written and published by the author (the oldest of them is from 1999) and many of them are related to other, previous ones as, for instance, "Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts" or "From A to Z, in the Sarsaparilla Alphabet". What is more, several reproductions of original typescripts (with handwritten notes, in some cases) of stories are included in the appendices. All this, probably, will be especially appreciated by long-time fans of Ellison.

To my taste, however, most of the stories were good or just OK, but not excellent. Some of them, in fact, were too strange, too derivative or too parodic (as is the case with "The Toad Prince, or, Sex Queen of the Martian Pleasure-Domes", the longest piece of the book, that I was unable to finish). I did like "How Interesting: A Tiny Man", possibly the best story of the collection (it did win the Hugo Award) and the short interludes in which the author explains the experience of his heart-attack almost as it was just another tale. And, of course, I must say that the edition is very beautiful and the bonus material (the typescripts I mentioned above) is really interesting from a historical point of view.

All in all, Can & Can'takerous is a book that I think will be better enjoyed by those familiar with Harlan Ellison's work. For the rest of readers, it might be a better idea to start with The Top of the Volcano and then come back to this other collection.

(You can also read this review in Spanish/También puedes leer esta reseña en español)         

miércoles, 3 de febrero de 2016

Novedad: Chains of the Heretic, de Jeff Salyards

Ayer se puso a la venta Chains of the Heretic, de Jeff Salyards, tercera y última entrega de la serie formada además por Scourge of the Betrayer y Veil of the Deserters. He tenido la oportunidad de leer ya la novela y espero poder ofreceros pronto una reseña completa.

Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:
Men are more easily broken than myths. 
Emperor Cynead has usurped command of the Memoridons—Tower-controlled memory witches—and consolidated his reign over the Syldoonian Empire. After escaping the capital city of Sunwrack, Captain Braylar Killcoin and his Jackal company evade pursuit across Urglovia, tasked with reaching deposed emperor Thumarr and helping him recapture the throne. Braylar’s sister, Soffjian, rejoins the Jackals and reveals that Commander Darzaak promised her freedom if she agreed to aid them in breaking Cynead’s grip on the other Memoridons and ousting him. 
Imperial forces attempt to intercept Braylar’s company before they can reach Thumarr. The Jackals fight through Cynead’s battalions but find themselves trapped along the Godveil. Outmaneuvered and outnumbered, Braylar gambles on some obscure passages that Arki has translated and uses his cursed flail, Bloodsounder, to part the Godveil, leading the Jackals to the other side. There, they encounter the ruins of human civilization, but they also learn that the Deserters who abandoned humanity a millennium ago and created the Veil in their wake are still very much alive. But are they gods? Demons? Monsters? 
What Braylar, Soffjian, Arki, and the Jackals discover beyond the Godveil will shake an empire, reshape a map, and irrevocably alter the course of history.

martes, 2 de febrero de 2016

Novedad: Mistborn: Secret History, de Brandon Sanderson

Ya está la venta Mistborn: Secret History, la más reciente historia de Brandon Sanderson situada en el Cosmere. Cronológicamente, se sitúa tras los acontecimientos de la trilogía original de Mistborn, pero parece ser que debería ser leída después de The Bands of Mourning (que se publicó hace pocos días) porque también tiene algún spoiler de esa novela.

Ésta es la sinopsis (o no) del libro:
Mistborn: Secret History is a companion story to the original Mistborn trilogy. 
As such, it contains huge spoilers for the books Mistborn (The Final Empire),The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. It also contains very minor spoilers for the book The Bands of Mourning. 
Mistborn: Secret History builds upon the characterization, events, and worldbuilding of the original trilogy. Reading it without that background will be a confusing process at best. 
In short, this isn't the place to start your journey into Mistborn. (Though if you have read the trilogy--but it has been a while--you should be just fine, so long as you remember the characters and the general plot of the books.) 
Saying anything more here risks revealing too much. Even knowledge of this story's existence is, in a way, a spoiler. 
There's always another secret.