Mailboxes, Shelves, and What I'm Reading

Stacking The Shelves and Mailbox Monday are a pair of weekly memes that are about sharing the books that came your way over the past week, and which you've added to your shelves - whether they be physical or virtual, borrowed or bought, or for pleasure or review.

Well, it seems I fell off the abstinence bandwagon this week but, in my defense, the crop of ARCs that popped up this week for requesting was solid - and the publishers did me something of a backhanded favour by declining a few requests due to territorial rights.

Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park
Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: July 1st 2014 by Tor Books

In All Those Vanished Engines, Paul Park returns to science fiction after a decade spent on the impressive four-volume A Princess of Roumania fantasy, with an extraordinary, intense, compressed SF novel in three parts, each set in its own alternate-history universe. The sections are all rooted in Virginia and the Battle of the Crater, and are also grounded in the real history of the Park family, from differing points of view. They are all gorgeously imaginative and carefully constructed, and reverberate richly with one another.

The first section is set in the aftermath of the Civil War, in a world in which the Queen of the North has negotiated a two-nation settlement. The second, taking place in northwestern Massachusetts, investigates a secret project during World War II, in a time somewhat like the present. The third is set in the near-future United States, with aliens from history.

The cumulative effect is awesome. There hasn’t been a three part novel this ambitious in science fiction since Gene Wolfe’s classic The Fifth Head of Cerberus.

The Last Town by Blake Crouch
Kindle Edition
Expected publication: July 15th 2014 by Thomas & Mercer

Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrived in Wayward Pines, Idaho, three weeks ago. In this town, people are told who to marry, where to live, where to work. Their children are taught that David Pilcher, the town's creator, is god. No one is allowed to leave; even asking questions can get you killed.

But Ethan has discovered the astonishing secret of what lies beyond the electrified fence that surrounds Wayward Pines and protects it from the terrifying world beyond. It is a secret that has the entire population completely under the control of a madman and his army of followers, a secret that is about to come storming through the fence to wipe out this last, fragile remnant of humanity.

Blake Crouch's electrifying conclusion to the Wayward Pines Series?now a Major Television Event Series debuting Summer 2014 on FOX?will have you glued to the page right down to the very last word.

The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Volume 2 edited by Gordon Van Gelder
Paperback, 432 pages
Expected publication: July 15th 2014 by Tachyon Publications 

Fantasy & Science Fiction continues to showcase some of the most famous authors writing in any genre. The magazine jumpstarted the careers of bestselling authors such as Roger Zelazny, Bruce Sterling, and Jane Yolen and continues to champion bold new crossover talents including Paolo Bacigalupi and Ken Liu.

Now drawing upon F&SF's impressive history of classic and contemporary tales, this extraordinary companion anthology revisits and expands upon sixty-five years' worth of top-notch fiction. These broad-ranging, award-winning tales appeal to readers of genre fiction and beyond, exploring alternate history, time travel, urban fantasy, virtual reality, modern myth, horror, interstellar travel, epic fantasy, mystery, and space opera.

Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising by Sarah Cawkwell
Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: May 27th 2014 by Abaddon

Epic fantasy meets alternate history in a sweeping saga that crosses the medieval world. Matthias Eynon must escape the clutches the Witchhunters and locate the masters of the four magic arts to overthrow the tyrannical Demon King, descendant of the twisted Richard III.

Mathias Eynon"s dreams were small. A dabbler in magic, and son of a magician, he expected to live in obscurity in his home in the Welsh hills, quietly conducting his experiments and hoping not to draw too much attention to himself.

But fate has other plans for him. It is the Year of Our Lord Fifteen-Ninety, and a revolution is quietly brewing, here and further abroad. Richard V has overstayed his rule, some say; others whisper that the whole line of Demon Kings must be burned out. Mathias son of a man executed for the practice of magic, forbidden by the paranoid king is set to become a symbol, and a leader.

And to do that, he needs champions. A wise woman sends him to the corners of the known world to the frozen lands of the Danes, to the pirate-haunted ports of Spain, to the mountains of the German Empire, to the burning sands of the Holy Land to bring back masters of the four magic arts. With the best and brightest of Richard's Witch Hunters on his heels, he sets out to gather his allies.

Reach for Infinity edited by Jonathan Strahan
Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: May 27th 2014 by Solaris

An original collection of new short science fiction from the biggest and most exciting names in the genre. The latest in the Infinities collections edited and comissioned by multiple award-winning anthologist Jonathan Strahan.

What happens when humanity reaches out into the vastness of space? The brightest names in SF contribute new orginal fiction to this amazing anothology from master editor Jonathan Strahan. Including new work by Alastair Reynolds,Greg Egan,Ian McDonald, Ken Macleod, Pat Cadigan, Karl Schroeder, Hannu Rajaniemi, Karen Lord, Adam Roberts, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Aliette de Bodard Peter Watts, and others!


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is another weekly meme, this time focused on what books are spending the most time in your hands and in your head, as opposed to what's been added to your shelf.

With an eye towards my scheduled reviews for the next few weeks, I'm currently turning pages with:

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
A good, solid fantasy, pretty much what I was hoping for, and flowing much better with the hardcover in front of me.

• Shield and Crocus by Michael R. Underwood
A city built among the bones of a fallen giant, “Spark-storms” that raze the land and bestow wild, unpredictable abilities, five tyrants, and a small band of heroes. I like it.

• The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea
It kills, it breeds, it spreads. A U.S. research facility, top-secret experiments, and a vacation paradise igoing straight to hell. Sounds like fun.

What's topping your shelves this week?


  1. I am the opposite on Words of Radiance. I need to get a digital copy, that monster is just too thick for me to hold these days. I

    1. Normally I'd agree with you - I'm generally not a fan of hardcovers - but with epic fantasy I prefer to hold a solid copy in my hands.

  2. Can we start a group for bloggers that fall off that review copy abstinence band wagon? I'd be on it every other week. I mentioned before how All Those Vanished Engines caught my eye. I ended up grabbing it this week too, but in my defense I clicked that netgalley widget by accident. Well, a little bit by accident. Sort of. Kind of.


    Thanks for visiting my book haul

    1. I managed be to be good for about 3 weeks. I'm impressed by that, but maybe a group could push me to a solid month. LOL

  3. I haven't read any of these but happy reading. I also cannot stop trying to get review copies. It is really dangerous.

    Tsuki’s STS

  4. I need to check out The Wayward Pines series as that last book there looks really good. :) I love checking out all that everyone gets but it wreaks havoc on my TBR :)


    1. It's an odd series, not at all what I expected, but I like it. Curious to see how the TV series approaches the big twist/reveal.

  5. I just out The Montauk Monster on my reading list too - so excited to see someone else reading it :-)

    Tanya Patrice

    1. Sounds like a fun read. I've been looking forward to it.

  6. The Last Town sounds intriguing! Hope you like it and these others. Happy Reading!
    Here are my newest additions.

  7. This must have been the week we all fell off the wagon. My review stack ballooned this week too. Come see my Monday Report. Have a great week!

  8. I see wonderful books in your mailbox! Hope you like new books!!

    Here is my Mailbox post!!

  9. ENJOY your books and your reading week.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Mailbox Monday

  10. we do love both alternative history and futuristic sf!

  11. I am really interested in WWII at the moment. So I like the first book. Trying to become more involved with reading Sci-Fi.


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