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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Three Fall Titles of Huge Interest, I.M. Banks, J. C. Valtat and D. Weber (by Liviu Suciu)

Iain M. Banks returns to the Culture (or at least that's the internet talk as I have not seen a book synopsis so far) in The Hydrogen Sonata. There is also a rumor that it will be a "big" book, longer than any of the previous Culture novels and of course it shot up to my top of the expected list.

As Use of Weapons at #6 is top sff on my all time favorite list (both as a book and a proxy for the Culture series of course) and Surface Detail and Transition have been top sf (and sff for that matter) of their years for me, it's clear why The Hydrogen Sonata is such a huge awaited novel.

Mr. Banks will soon have a non-sff (non-M) novel out, Stonemouth, but I never found his non-M books (I read 4-5 easily) that much on my taste as they are "very British" and such are always hit-and-miss with me as I grew up on French culture, etc...

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In October, Jean Christophe Valtat will have a new novel out called Luminous Chaos. I loved Aurorarama and the title above suggests a book in the same vein, possibly a sequel or same universe novel, so I got very interested when I heard about it.

We'll see of course and I am even more curious how a second novel coming with very high expectations will read as sometimes novels coming out of nowhere so to speak may seem even more impressive due to that.

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While not unexpected as David Weber has so far kept the one Safehold novel per year schedule, I was still happy to learn that the 6th Safehold novel is on track for September/October and it has as (tentative) title, Midst Toil and Tribulation. You can find the links to all the series reviews in the review of How Firm a Foundation.

This last Safehold novel - #5 to date - has been the weakest imho as the author started repeating himself a little too much without bringing enough new stuff. In general, Mr. Weber tends to repeat and rework stuff from series to series and even book to book, so you can see a few scenes and subplots in various guises, but usually he adds that extra twist or that new angle of looking at - the assassination attempt in By Heresies Distressed which also appears in the upcoming War Maid's Choice in a new guise after appearing first in Heirs of Empire in a different context for example, or the main battle in A Rising Thunder are two recent such examples that come to mind but there are quite a few in his 50+ books work - that the scenes in cause read fresh and exciting.

In How Firm a Foundation though the freshness lacked a little and I hope that Midst Toil and Tribulation will reinvigorate the series with some of those twists the author is justly famed for. I read some speculations and some author comments about the general thrust of MTAT and they are of course not surprising considering how HFAF ended, but there is enough space to twist and turn...

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