Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived in the mail here at the Geek Compound.
Finch by Jeff VanderMeer
In the occupied and oppressed city-state of Ambergris, the detective John Finch must solve a sensitive double-murder for his inhuman masters, the Grey Caps. Nothing is as it seems as he negotiates his way through the landscape of spies, rebels, and deception. The fate of the city is in the balance, with Finch caught squarely in the middle.
A blunt sharp shock to the system, VanderMeer’s latest takes noir mystery, adds surreal fantasy, and comes up with a startling new hybrid.
One of the most eagerly anticipated novels of the year, VanderMeer returns to the surreal world of Ambergris. In my Austin Chronicle review I had this to say about his previous novel: “With literary stylings, a complex, riveting plot, and ideas that lesser writers could not imagine, Shriek: An Afterword further establishes Jeff Vandermeer as the finest fantasist of his generation.” I even listed it among my favorite books of 2006. This moves up to the top of my must read pile.
My Dead Body by Charlie Huston
NOBODY LIVES FOREVER. NOT EVEN A VAMPYRE.
Just ask Joe Pitt. After exposing the secret source of blood for half of Manhattan’s Vampyres, he’s definitely a dead man walking. He’s been a punching bag and a bullet magnet for every Vampyre Clan in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, not to mention a private eye, an enforcer, an exile, and a vigilante, but now he’s just a target with legs.
For a year he’s sloshed around the subway tunnels and sewers, tapping the veins of the lost, while above ground a Vampyre civil war threatens to drag the Clans into the sunlight once and for all. What’s it gonna take to dig him up? Just the search for a missing girl who’s carrying a baby that just might be the destiny of Vampyre-kind. Not that Joe cares all that much about destiny and such. What he cares about is that his ex-girl Evie wants him to take the gig. What’s the risk? Another turn playing pigeon in a shooting gallery. What’s the reward? Maybe one shot of his own. What’s he aiming for? Nothing much. Just all the evil at the heart of his world.
The Quiet War by Paul McAuley
Twenty-third century Earth, ravaged by climate change, looks backwards to the holy ideal of a pre-industrial Eden. Political power has been grabbed by a few powerful families and their green saints. Millions of people are imprisoned in teeming cities; millions more labour on Pharaonic projects to rebuild ruined ecosystems. On the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, the Outers, descendants of refugees from Earth’s repressive regimes, have constructed a wild variety of self-sufficient cities and settlements: scientific utopias crammed with exuberant creations of the genetic arts; the last outposts of every kind of democratic tradition. The fragile detente between the Outer cities and the dynasties of Earth is threatened by the ambitions of the rising generation of Outers, who want to break free of their cosy, inward-looking pocket paradises, colonise the rest of the Solar System, and drive human evolution in a hundred new directions. On Earth, many demand pre-emptive action against the Outers before it’s too late; others want to exploit the talents of their scientists and gene wizards.Amid campaigns for peace and reconciliation, political machinations, crude displays of military might, and espionage by cunningly wrought agents, the two branches of humanity edge towards war.
Pixu: The Mark of Evil by Gabriel Ba, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos, and Fabio Moon
This gripping tale of urban horror follows the lives of five lonely tenants — strangers — whose lives become intertwined when they discover a dark mark scrawled on the walls of their building. The horror sprouts quite innocently from a small seed and finds life as something otherworldly, damaged, full of love, hate, fear, and power. As the walls come alive, everyone is slowly driven mad — defenseless against the evil in the building, stripped of free will, leaving only confusion, chaos, and eventual death.
Originally self-published as a two-volume book, this groundbreaking work receives a deluxe presentation in a hardcover edition with a sketchbook section.
* The 2008 Eisner Award-winning team for Best Anthology — Gabriel Bá (The Umbrella Academy), Becky Cloonan (American Virgin), Vasilis Lolos (The Last Call), and Fábio Moon (Sugarshock) — return with their latest collaboration, Pixu: The Mark of Evil.
More in Part II.