Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived in the mail here at the Geek Compound.
You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation! by Fletcher Hanks
The first volume of Fletcher Hanks stories, I Shall Destroy All Civilized Planets! (now in its fourth printing) was an Eisner Award-winning smash hit and a staple on "Best of the Year" lists. Edited by cartoonist Paul Karasik, this second volume, You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation, collects all of the rest of Hanks comic book work. The thirty-one tales in this book, when combined with the first volume, will comprise The Complete Fletcher Hanks! Fletcher Hanks was the first great comic book auteur: that is, he wrote, penciled, inked and lettered all of his own stories, many of which feature the cold space wizard superhero Stardust or the jungle protectress Fantomah. Today’s mature readers – both comics fans and non-comics fans who learned about the book from magazines such as The Believer and other journals – are stunned by these comics’ pop surrealism and outright violent mayhem.
I heaped praise upon the previous Hanks collection I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! in my RevolutionSF review. "[It] rescues Fletcher Hanks from the purgatory of forgotten creators and restores his rightful place among the pantheon of the bizarre." For The Austin Chronicle I dubbed it "the most interesting and entertaining book of the year." As you can imagine, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this collection.
Hitler’s War by Harry Turtledove
A stroke of the pen and history is changed. In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, determined to avoid war at any cost, signed the Munich Accord, ceding part of Czechoslovakia to Hitler. But the following spring, Hitler snatched the rest of that country and pushed beyond its borders. World War II had begun, and England, after a fatal act of appeasement, was fighting a war for which it was not prepared.
Now, in this thrilling, provocative, and fascinating alternate history by Harry Turtledove, another scenario is played out: What if Chamberlain had not signed the accord? What if Hitler had acted rashly, before his army was ready–would such impatience have helped him or doomed him faster? Here is an action-packed, blow-by-blow chronicle of the war that might have been–and the repercussions that might have echoed through history–had Hitler reached too far, too soon, and too fast.
Turtledove uses dozens of points of view to tell this story: from American marines serving in Japanese-occupied China to members of a Jewish German family with a proud history of war service to their nation, from ragtag volunteers fighting in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion in Spain to an American woman desperately trying to escape Nazi-occupied territory–and witnessing the war from within the belly of the beast.
A novel that reveals the human face of war while simultaneously riding the twists and turns that make up the great acts of history, Hitler’s War is the beginning of an exciting new alternate history saga. Here is a tale of powerful leaders and ordinary people, of spies, soldiers, and traitors, of the shifting alliances that draw some together while tearing others apart. At once authoritative, brilliantly imaginative, and hugely entertaining, Hitler’s War captures the beginning of a very different World War II–with a very different fate for our world today.
Goats: Infinite Typewriters by Jonathan Rosenberg
It’s not as if one decides to wake up one day, argue existentialism with livestock, and fly a spaceship to the center of the galaxy to meet, greet–and eat–God. It just sort of happens. At least it does in the world of Goats, the cult-hit webcomic wherein a clutch of brave if baffled barflies (including humans, chickens, and a cyborg goldfish) hit the interdimensional bricks to save the multiverse from certain doom kicked off by a cosmic computer glitch. You can’t make this stuff up–unless you’re one of the monkeys tapping on infinite typewriters who controls all reality. You’ll see. . . .
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.
Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire — and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?
SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.
More in Part One.