Monday, November 8, 2021

Annual Book Sale 2021: My Son's Books

For many, many years my family and I have been going to the annual Planned Parenthood Book Sale in September.  The sale lasts about 10 days, so two weekends, and we always go several times throughout the sale.

This year was special because the sale was canceled last year, as most other events of this type were. So we were especially looking forward to our visits to check the books out.

These are some of the books my son selected for himself. He usually concentrates on the science fiction and fantasy books, plus graphic novels. 

Celestial Matters by Richard Garfinkle

This book is described as a novel of alternate science.

Description from the book's dust jacket:
The ancient Greeks believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. The great astronomer Ptolemy mapped the solar system and stars, locating each heavenly body in a crystalline sphere, the spheres forming a concentric series that progressed in an orderly fashion outward from the earth. Celestial Matters is a startling novel of hard SF, set in an alternate, ptolemaic universe in which these beliefs are literal scientific fact.

Counting Heads by David Marusek

Description at the publishers' website:
Counting Heads is David Marusek's extraordinary launch as an SF novelist: The year is 2134, and the Information Age has given rise to the Boutique Economy in which mass production and mass consumption are rendered obsolete. Life extension therapies have increased the human lifespan by centuries. Loyal mentars (artificial intelligences) and robots do most of society's work. The Boutique Economy has made redundant ninety-nine percent of the world's fifteen billion human inhabitants. The world would be a much better place if they all simply went away.
Eleanor K. Starke, one of the world's leading citizens is assassinated, and her daughter, Ellen, is mortally wounded. Only Ellen, the heir to her mother's financial empire, is capable of saving Earth from complete domination plotted by the cynical, selfish, immortal rich, that is if she survives. Her cryonically frozen head is in the hands of her family's enemies. A ragtag ensemble of unlikely heroes join forces to rescue Ellen's head, all for their own purposes.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

From the Publisher Description at
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he's still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn't bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would.

The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher

From the description on the back of the book:
Back in the day, Captain Abraham Idaho Cleveland had led the Fleet into battle against an implacable machine intelligence capable of devouring entire worlds. But after saving a planet, and getting a bum robot knee in the process, he finds himself relegated to one of the most remote backwaters in Fleetspace to oversee the decommissioning of a semi-deserted space station well past its use-by date.
But all is not well aboard the U-Star Coast City. The station’s reclusive Commandant is nowhere to be seen, leaving Cleveland to deal with a hostile crew on his own. Persistent malfunctions plague the station’s systems while interference from a toxic purple star makes even ordinary communications problematic. ...

Sherlock Holmes vs. Cthulhu: The Adventure of the Deadly Dimensions by Lois H. Gresh

From the back of the trade paperback edition:
A series of grisly murders rocks London. At each location, only a jumble of bones remains of the deceased, along with a bizarre sphere covered in strange symbols. The son of the latest victim seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes and his former partner, Dr. John Watson. 
They discover the common thread tying together the murders. Bizarre geometries, based on ancient schematics, enable otherworldly creatures to enter our dimension, seeking to wreak havoc and destruction. 
The persons responsible are gaining so much power that even Holmes's greatest enemy fears them - to the point that he seeks an unholy alliance.

On Her Majesty's Occult Service by Charles Stross

This omnibus edition combines books 1 and 2 in the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross, plus a novella and a short story. 
Book 1: The Atrocity Archives
Book 1.5 (novella): The Concrete Jungle
Book 2: The Jennifer Morgue

This is the description at Goodreads of the Laundry Files series:
The multiple Hugo Award-winning Laundry Files series follows the exploits of a former tech support worker now-turned field agent, Bob Howard, at the Laundry, a top secret British intelligence agency dedicated to protecting the cosmos and the human race from nefarious supernatural phenomenon beyond spacetime. Starting off with The Atrocity Archives, witness Charles Stross infuse each genre-bending novel with a blend of dark fantasy, bureaucratic humor, and the pacing of a hardcore thriller. An innovative spin on H.P. Lovedcraft's "Cthulu Mythos," the Laundry Files is perfect for fans of weird fiction and bureaucratic humor with a technological twist

Neither my son nor I know much about these authors. If you have any experience with the books or authors, we would love to hear more about them.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I have meant to try THE MAGICIAN for years. Hope he enjoys them.

Rick Robinson said...

I’m an SF reader, but I’ll pass on these, esp. the Holmes/Chuliu one.

Margot Kinberg said...

I have to admit, Tracy, I'm not usually into SF, but your son's picked out some interesting books. I'll be especially interested in what he thinks of the Stross; I've read some of his work and liked it.

col2910 said...

I've heard of author Adam Christopher, but that's where my familiarity with these books begins and ends. Nice covers on a couple of them, but probably not for me.

TracyK said...

Col, I have one book by Adam Christopher, the first in another series, and I plan to read that one. It is a blend of science fiction and mystery. The one that my son got has elements of horror, so I will let my son try that one first.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Patti. I think he will enjoy most of these books, and some I may read if he recommends them. The Magicians sounds good and there is was a TV show adaptation also.

TracyK said...

Rick, I did not think many of these would appeal to you. I won't read much in the way of Sherlock until I have read more of the Conan Doyle novels and stories.

TracyK said...

Margot, I think some of the books here are interesting also. I am reading the novella that is a part of Stross's Laundry Files series right now and sometime soon will read the first in the series. The book by David Marusek also sounds interesting. Maybe The Magicians. And I will see how my son likes the others.

Rick Robinson said...

It rather forcefully pointed out to me on another blog that if I have not heard / seen / read a particular work, I’m not qualified to comment on it.

So, on these books, NO OPINION.

TracyK said...

That's fine, Rick. I have heard of a couple of these authors, but mostly they are all new to me.

Katrina said...

I hope you/he enjoys the Charlie Stross book although it isn't my cup of tea. He's an old friend of ours from our Edinburgh Writers' Group days.

Cath said...

I'm fairly certain I've read the first book in that Charlie Stross series. I wasn't mad about it but the friend who recced them was, my husband loved them and I fancy one of my daughters does too. So I'm in the minority. LOL

TracyK said...

Katrina, how interesting that you know Charlie Stross. I am enjoying the novella that follows the first book in the series, and I will read that first book later.

TracyK said...

Cath, It is good to hear about more people who have enjoyed Stross's series. As that is the one on the list I am most interested in myself.

Neeru said...

Have never heard of these books or authors. Waiting for your list.

TracyK said...

Neeru, I am behind on lists for the book sale, but I plan to list some of mine eventually and my husband got some nice books too.

Sam Sattler said...

Your son hit the jackpot, didn't he? It's obvious from his choices what he enjoys reading, and I have a feeling he's going to love most of these. I haven't been to an old fashioned book sale in forever. Our county library system does an every day sale of books donated by patrons to the Friends of the Library group, but I keep forgetting to pop in and take a look when I'm in the library.

TracyK said...

I think he will enjoy these books, Sam. He is very open to trying new authors, new styles of writing.

We enjoyed the sale very much. It is amazing that we can visit several times and still find good books on the very last day.

Todd Mason said...

Marusek is a genius; I need to check out a novel by him. Grossman and Stross are wildly successful writers, and I've read a bit of each, liked what I've read. I've heard of the others, but don't think I've yet read anything by them; the Garfinkle is the kind of cute notion that tends to be irresistible to sf writers, and more power to him for getting a novel out of it! It's a promising set, indeed.

CLM said...

My sister loved The Magicians and the sequels. It is described as Harry Potter for grownups. I keep meaning to try it myself.

TracyK said...

I thought it was a good selection of books and authors also, Todd, especially for my son. And several appeal to me too. Thanks for your thoughts on the authors you are familiar with.

TracyK said...

Constance, I am glad to hear that your sister enjoyed The Magicians and the rest of that series. I had read that comparison to the Harry Potter series, and I probably will try it too. I have read the Harry Potter books, and while I did not love them all, I would be interested in comparing Grossman's series to the Potter books.