miércoles, 1 de abril de 2015

Ebook gratuito: Lunar Landing, de Lester del Rey

En estos momentos se puede descargar gratuitamente el ebook Lunar Landing, de Lester del Rey, en la página de la editorial Wildside Press

Ésta es la sinopsis del libro:
A rescue party lands on the moon, only to encounter disaster and end up stranded. Hoping to salvage parts from the ship they are there to rescue, they set out to rendezvous—only to encounter a new string of mysteries. The 3-man crew they have come to rescue is nowhere to be found...and the parts they need have already been removed. 
"Lunar Landing," originally published in ASTOUNDING Science Fiction (October 1942) is classic science fiction by one of the Grand Masters!

Novedad: Pelquin's Comet, de Ian Whates

Ya está a la venta Pelquin's Comet, novela con la que se abre una nueva serie de Ian Whates, autor que visitará este año el Festival Celsius 232

Ésta es la sinopsis de la novela:

In an age of exploration and expansion, the crew of the freetrader Pelquin’s Comet – a rag-tag group of misfits, ex-soldiers and ex-thieves – set out to find a cache of alien technology, intent on making their fortunes; but they are not the only interested party and find themselves in a deadly race against corporate agents and hunted by the authorities. 
Forced to combat enemies without and within, they strive to overcome the odds under the watchful eye of an unwelcome guest: Drake, agent of the bank funding their expedition, who is far more than he seems and may represent the greatest threat of all.

martes, 31 de marzo de 2015

Novedad: Perfect State, de Brandon Sanderson

Hoy se pone a la venta Perfect State, una novela corta de Brandon Sanderson. Ésta es su sinopsis:

From the author of Legion and the #1 New York Times bestselling Stormlight Archive comes an action-filled novella about privilege, culture clash, and expectations. 
God-Emperor Kairominas is lord of all he surveys. He has defeated all foes, has united the entire world beneath his rule, and has mastered the arcane arts. He spends his time sparring with his nemesis, who keeps trying to invade Kai's world. 
Except for today. Today, Kai has to go on a date. 
Forces have conspired to require him to meet with his equal--a woman from another world who has achieved just as much as he has. What happens when the most important man in the world is forced to have dinner with the most important woman in the world?

lunes, 30 de marzo de 2015

Harrison Squared, de Daryl Gregory


Banda sonora de la reseña: Sugiero leer esta reseña escuchando Monster de Scrimshander (Spotify).

Harrison Squared, la más reciente novela de Daryl Gregory, es una especie de precuela de We Are All Completely Fine (my review), su novela corta de 2014. Y digo "especie de" porque los sucesos narrados en Harrison Squared son ficción en el mundo We Are All Completely Fine (¿o quizá no?), tan solo una novela acerca de un joven llamado Harrison Harrison que no es el mismo Harrison Harrison de la novela corta (¿o quizá sí?). 

Así que tenemos dos libros conectados (o quizá no) por algunos personajes y ciertos hechos inusuales, y que es mejor leer y apreciar en conjunto, pero que son muy diferentes en bastantes aspectos. Mientras que We Are All Completely Fine tiene un tono oscuro y pesimista e incluso roza lo experimental en su forma, Harrison Squared es una narración mucho más convencional, más ligera en su tono y que incluso podría ser clasificada como novela juvenil.

De hecho, una de las cosas que más me han gustado de Harrison Squared es que está llena de sentido del humor. Los diálogos son inteligentes y agudos y la novela tiene muchas escenas realmente divertidas. Considerad, por ejemplo, el siguiente párrafo:
Aunt Selena was unmarried, with no children of her own. Like I said, people on Dad's put off spawning as long as possible, and I figured she'd probably never swim upstream. When I was little I saw her at a few holidays, up until Infamous Last Christmas. That morning, while Mom had fought with Grandpa, Aunt Sel had asked me to bring her a glass of wine - it was nine in the morning - and when I'd delivered it she'd handed me a ten dollar bill and said, "I dislike children, but I do appreciate decent service."
La tía Sel es sólo uno de los muchos y fascinantes personajes secundarios de Harrison Squared, y probablemente el único "normal". Tenemos al anfibio Lub, a la Toadmother, al Scrimshander, al profesor Waughm (go threshers!), a la enfermera Mandi... A pesar de que algunos de ellos aparecen en sólo un par de escenas, son todos de carne y hueso (de escamas y espinas, en ciertos casos) y tienen una voz única y perfectamente distinguible. Gregory tiene un notable talento para escribir personajes inusuales pero adorables (una de las cosas que más me gustó de la maravillosa Raising Stony Mayhall) y aquí se vuelve a poner de manifiesto.

Otro punto destacable de Harrison Squared es la misteriosa población de Dunnsmouth, claro homenaje a la obra de Lovecraft (la novela está repleta de referencia meta-literarias). Con apenas unas pocas frases, Gregory consigue crear una atmósfera enigmática, especialmente en lo que se refiere al extraño instituto al que Harrison se ve obligado a asistir:
"Hello, Harrison", the students said in unison. Not just generally at the same time, but in perfect synchrony, like a choir. A choir that had been rehearsing.
I lifted a hand in greeting. They stared at me. They were dressed in blacks and grays, not quite a uniform, but definitely a look, as if hey all did their shopping at ClinicalDepression.com. My tie-dye shirt was like a loud laugh at a  funeral.  
Como es habitual, la prosa de Gregory es engañosamente simple, haciendo parecer sencillo lo que es muy difícil de conseguir, y estableciendo el tono para el resto del libro a través de un puñado de estupendas escenas. Además, consigue mezclar esa sensación de misterio con los diálogos divertidos e inteligentes que mencionaba más arriba de un modo natural y sin fisuras en el que nada está forzado. Pocos autores son capaces de hacer funcionar este tipo de combinación, pero en Harrison Squared Gregory lo hace a las mil maravillas.

A pesar de todas sus virtudes, también encuentro algunos aspectos problemáticos en el libro. Por un lado, puede que por el tono juvenil de la trama, creo que la novela no consigue transmitir la sensación de apocalipsis inminente que uno esperaría de las amenazas a las que se enfrenta el protagonista. La atmósfera es misteriosa y enigmática, sí, pero nunca terrorífica y la violencia y las vísceras están muy suavizadas, al menos en comparación con We Are All Completely Fine. Por otro lado, Harrison Harrison me ha decepcionado un poco como protagonista principal, especialmente en comparación con la excelente caracterización del resto de personajes. Harrison es, en exceso, el típico héroe juvenil, y las características que podrían distinguirlo (su falta de autocontrol y su pierna prostética) no están, en mi humilde opinión, tan bien integradas en su personalidad como sería deseable.

A pesar de estos problemas, Harrison Squared es un buen libro y recomiendo su lectura (en combinación con We Are All Completely Fine, si es posible, para una experiencia más completa). Puede que no sea tan bueno como Raising Stony Mayhall, pero si echamos las cuentas, muy pocos libros lo son. El epílogo deja las cosas preparadas para una secuela y no pienso perdérmela si finalmente se publica.

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

Harrison Squared, by Daryl Gregory


(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 Monster by Scrimshander (Spotify).

Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory's newest novel, is a prequel of sorts to We Are All Completely Fine (my review), his novella from 2014. And I say "of sorts" because the events told in Harrison Squared are just fiction in We Are All Completely Fine (or are they not?), just a novel about a teenager called Harrison Harrison who is not the same Harrison Harrison of the novella (or is he?). 

So, we have two books that might be linked (or not) by several characters and some unusual events and that are better read and appreciated together, but that are quite different in a lot of respects. While We Are All Completely Fine has a dark, pessimistic tone and is even a bit experimental in its form, Harrison Squared is a much more straightforward narration, lighter in mood and might be classified as YA fiction. 

In fact, one of the things I enjoyed the most about Harrison Squared is that it is full of humor. The dialog is intelligent and witty and the novel has many scenes that are really funny. Consider, for instance, the following paragraph:
Aunt Selena was unmarried, with no children of her own. Like I said, people on Dad's put off spawning as long as possible, and I figured she'd probably never swim upstream. When I was little I saw her at a few holidays, up until Infamous Last Christmas. That morning, while Mom had fought with Grandpa, Aunt Sel had asked me to bring her a glass of wine - it was nine in the morning - and when I'd delivered it she'd handed me a ten dollar bill and said, "I dislike children, but I do appreciate decent service."
Aunt Sel is just one of the many amazing secondary characters in Harrison Squared, and probably the only "normal" one. We have the amphibian Lub, the Toadmother, the Scrimshander, Prof. Waughm (go threshers!), Nurse Mandi... Despite some of them appear only a couple of times, all of them are fully fleshed (fish-fleshed, in some cases) and have a distinct and unique voice. Gregory obviously has a talent for writing unusual but lovely characters (one of the things I loved the most about the amazing Raising Stony Mayhall) and it shows. 

Another strong point of Harrison Squared is the mysterious village of Dunnsmouth, a clear homage to Lovecraft's work (the novel is full of meta-literary references). With just a few sentences, Gregory is able to set an enigmatic atmosphere, especially about the strange High School Harrison is forced to attend:
"Hello, Harrison", the students said in unison. Not just generally at the same time, but in perfect synchrony, like a choir. A choir that had been rehearsing.
I lifted a hand in greeting. They stared at me. They were dressed in blacks and grays, not quite a uniform, but definitely a look, as if hey all did their shopping at ClinicalDepression.com. My tie-dye shirt was like a loud laugh at a  funeral.  
As always, Gregory's prose is deceptively simple, making look easy what is really difficult to achieve, and setting the tone for the rest of the book with just a few, wonderful scenes. Also, he manages to mix that sense of mystery with the funny and clever dialog I mentioned above, in a seamless, natural way in which nothing is forced. Few authors are capable of sustaining that kind of combination, changing from the sinister to the humorous in a sentence, but Gregory excels at it in Harrison Squared.

For all its virtues, I also found some problematic aspects in the book. On the one hand, maybe because of the YA feel of the plot, I think that the novel fails to convey the sense of impeding doom that one might expect from the threats that main protagonist has to face. The atmosphere is mysterious and enigmatic, yes, but never horrifying and the violence and gore are toned down a lot, at least when compared to We Are All Completely Fine. On the other hand, I found Harrison Harrison a bit disappointing as a main protagonist, especially since the rest of the characters are so well-developed. He is too much the typical teenage hero, and the traits that could make him unique (his anger issues and his prosthetic limb) are not, in my humble opinion, as well integrated in his personality as could be desirable.

Despite these problems, Harrison Squared is a good book and one that I recommend reading (together with We Are All Completely Fine, if possible, for a more complete experience). It may not be as good as Raising Stony Mayhall, but at the end of the day, very few novels are. The epilogue sets everything in place for a sequel, and I won't be missing it if it finally happens.

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

domingo, 29 de marzo de 2015

Ebook en oferta: Antes de que los cuelguen, de Joe Abercrombie

Durante el día de hoy se puede adquirir en Amazon España el ebook Antes de que los cuelguen, de Joe Abercrombie, por 1,42€ (mi reseña).

Ésta es la sinopsis de la novela:

El Superior Glokta tiene la misión de defender una ciudad sitiada por el ejército gurko y minada por la traición, además de descubrir qué ocurrió con su sucesor. 
Por su parte, los hombres del Norte han cruzado la frontera y han entrado a sangre y fuego en el territorio de la Unión; para detenerlos no bastará con el ejército del Rey. 
A su vez, Bayaz, el Primero de los Magos, conduce a un heterogéneo grupo de aventureros en una peligrosa misión por las ruinas del pasado...

Novedad: The Lost Boys Symphony, de Mark Andrew Ferguson

Esta semana se ha puesto a la venta The Lost Boys Symphony, una novela de viajes en el tiempo de Mark Andrew Ferguson que está recibiendo estupendas críticas.

Ésta es su sinopsis:
A STARTLINGLY ORIGINAL, GENRE-BENDING LITERARY DEBUT IN WHICH A LOVESICK COLLEGE STUDENT IS ABDUCTED BY HIS FUTURE SELVES. 
After Henry's girlfriend Val leaves him and transfers to another school, his grief begins to manifest itself in bizarre and horrifying ways. Cause and effect, once so reliable, no longer appear to be related in any recognizable manner. Either he's hallucinating, or the strength of his heartbreak over Val has unhinged reality itself. 
After weeks of sleepless nights and sick delusions, Henry decides to run away. If he can only find Val, he thinks, everything will make sense again. So he leaves his mother's home in the suburbs and marches toward the city and the woman who he thinks will save him. Once on the George Washington Bridge, however, a powerful hallucination knocks him out cold. When he awakens, he finds himself kidnapped by two strangers--one old, one middle-aged--who claim to be future versions of Henry himself. Val is the love of your life, they tell him. We've lost her, but you don't have to. 
In the meantime, Henry's best friend Gabe is on the verge of breakdown of his own. Convinced he is somehow to blame for Henry's deterioration and eventual disappearance, Gabe is consumed by a potent mix of guilt and sadness. When he is approached by an enigmatic stranger who bears a striking resemblance to his lost friend, Gabe begins to fear for his own sanity. With nowhere else to turn, he reaches out to the only person who can possibly help him make sense of it all: Val. 
The Lost Boys Symphony is a beautiful reminder of what it's like to be young, lost, and in and out of love for the very first time. By turns heartfelt and heartbreaking, Ferguson's debut novel boldly announces the arrival of a spellbinding new talent on the literary stage, in a master feat of empathy and multilayered storytelling that takes adventurous literary fiction to dizzying new heights.