Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or
Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead

Martin Stevens. Oxford Univ., $39.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-19-870789-9

Cheating and deception abounds in the natural world, as Stevens, associate professor in sensory and evolutionary ecology at the University of Exeter (U.K.), reveals in this discussion of the ways plants and animals make use of deceptive strategies to enhance their chances of reproducing. He discusses myriad examples from around the world, always focusing on the evolutionary pressures at work. Stevens shares information from Victorian natural historians—such as Alfred Russel Wallace, Henry Bates, and Charles Darwin—who first noted some of the most obvious cases of mimicry and offered explanations for their existence. Current scientists also receive their due, revealing how increasingly sophisticated experiments have become as they try to determine how and whether deception occurs. Throughout, Stevens draws a distinction between sensory exploitation and mimicry, pointing to the evolutionary pressures that yield dramatically different results in the two cases. His somewhat encyclopedic approach, coupled with his rather dry writing style, make the book better for dipping into than voraciously absorbing. The color plates nicely supplement Stevens's text and will help readers appreciate the nature of many of the deceptions discussed. Illus. (May)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
I, Vampire

Jody Scott. Digital Parchment Services, $2.99 e-book (216p) ISBN 978-1-61508-620-7

The second book of Scott's Benaroya Chronicles (after Passing for Human), first published in 1984, is still one of the most astonishing works of science fiction ever written. Sterling O'Blivion is hard at work fleecing ordinary citizens out of their life savings when she unexpectedly runs into Virginia Woolf in the ladies' room. But Woolf isn't Woolf—she's the titular vampire, Benaroya, a 36-foot-tall body-swapping alien trying to save humanity from the sinister Sajorians. Naturally, Sterling falls madly in love with her. Benaroya's plan involves selling Famous Men's Sperm Kits to adjust human perceptions and coaxing the world into psychic enlightenment over several centuries, unless the Sajorians (or Sterling's own morbid self-pity) get in the way. Scott's complex theories of reality will be a barrier to comprehension for many, but readers who can stick out the obtuse bits will be rewarded with a stunning piece of iconoclasm as Scott takes human society to task for its casual cruelties, meaningless obsessions, and ironic hatred of love. Most notably, Sterling's vampirism and lesbian identity work in tandem to make this an early and invaluable work of queer feminist SF; its historic nature alone is worth the price of admission. Introduction by Theodore Sturgeon. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Bay of Sighs

Nora Roberts. Berkley, $17 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-425-28011-9

A mermaid and a time and space traveler fall in love while searching for a magical object off the island of Capri and protecting it from the goddess of lies and her minions in the second Guardians fantasy romance (after Stars of Fortune). Mermaid Annika, nearly childlike about life on land, is not a typical Roberts heroine. Sawyer King is a Renaissance man with good reasons to be reluctant in pursuing his love for her; she, in turn, cannot make certain first moves because she's bound by the sirens' rules. But Annika is well advised on seduction by her fellow female Guardians, a seer and a werewolf and does what she can to convey her interest. The group's good-natured camaraderie is a definite plus, as is the sweetly romantic nature of the couple's possibly doomed courtship. Too bad Annika's naïveté is overdone, and though Sawyer's a great hero, he occasionally comes across as a combination of other Roberts leading men. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (June)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Black Tide Rising

Edited by John Ringo and Gary Poole. Baen, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4767-8151-8

Ringo and Poole team up to deliver an uneven anthology of stories about life in Ringo's Black Tide setting, in which humans contend with the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. The first of Ringo's two contributions to the collection, "Never Been Kissed," is also one of the strongest, bringing a touch of wistful humanity sadly lacking in many of the other stories. John Scalzi and Dave Klecha's "On the Wall" is a dialogue-only tale of two men bonding while defending a compound; it's easily the funniest of the batch, though Scalzi fans are likely to find some of the jokes familiar. Mike Massa's "Battle of the BERTs" is an action-packed, tense tale of bank-sponsored security teams patrolling and protecting New York. Eric Flint's "Up on the Roof," a story of neighbors in east Chicago making a go of surviving at a tank farm near an oil refinery, is nearly unreadable. Fans of the universe will find some works to like, but the anthology as a whole is disappointing. (June)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Daring in a Blue Dress

Katie MacAlister. Signet, $7.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-1-101-99066-7

Two adorably matched leads come together in MacAlister's flawed contemporary romance, third in her Matchmaker in Wonderland series (after A Midsummer Night's Romp) . Mercy Starling takes a summer job working for a medieval combat troupe scheduled to spend three weeks at Bestwood Hall, the ramshackle estate Alden Ainslie bought with his last shilling and hopes to flip for a profit. There's a brief case of mistaken identity when he assumes his meddling sister-in-law's tried to set Mercy up with him. Alden and Mercy complement each other wonderfully; both are perpetual students, she draws him out of his shell, and their chemistry is funny and sexy. Broad humor—including a running gag about birds called hairy tits—avoids slapstick territory. Unfortunately, the machinations of the sister-in-law create some plot inconsistencies, and Lisa, Mercy's irritating foil, is all the more grating because of her illogical motivations. Agent: Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary. (June)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Four Roads Cross

Max Gladstone. Tor, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7942-9

In the fifth and final installment of the Craft sequence, two-time Campbell Award–finalist Gladstone returns to the city of Alt Coulomb and the adventures of Craftswoman Tara Abernathy. A year after the events of Three Parts Dead, Tara—now in-house counsel to the Church of Kos Everburning—continues to negotiate the consequences of the near-death of the god Kos and the resurrection of his lover, the moon goddess Seril. As the goddess struggles to consolidate her power, a magical and financial crisis looms amid doubts over Kos's solvency; its resolution depends on Tara and her allies—technician and reluctant saint Abelard, policewoman Catherine Elle, and gargoyle Shale—and also upon the working-class men and women of Alt Coulomb's market. Gladstone's storytelling, worldbuilding, and character development are always singularly enjoyable, and that pleasure is enhanced here by the reunion with the richly drawn cast of his first sorcerous legal thriller. They, along with Gladstone's writing, have grown, matured, and become even more interesting. This is a splendid conclusion to a fascinating series. Agent Robert G. Diforio, D4EO Literary. (July)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Hell Divers

Nicholas Sansbury Smith. Blackstone, $24.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5047-2584-2

In Smith's (Orbs) underwhelming post-apocalyptic series opener, the last surviving humans live in two giant airships circling a radioactive Earth. The implausibility of the situation is only increased by the introduction of the Hell Divers, who jump to the surface to scavenge for supplies and send them back up to the ships. When seasoned diver Xavier "X" Rodriguez encounters a new breed of monster, the increasingly necessary dives become even more dangerous, just as the second ship, the Ares, is badly damaged in an electrical storm. On board X's ship, the Hive, class tensions are coming to a head as lowerdeckers fight for equality. Exposition dumps, stilted dialogue, and sentimentality in place of character development make it hard to find a reason to keep reading, but military SF readers and fans of The Last Ship will find enjoyment in familiar ground. Random digressions into religion and philosophy further confuse the narrative, and toward the end, it starts to feel like a video game with complicated win conditions. Agent: David Fugate, Launch Books Literary. (July)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Master of the Game

Portia Da Costa. Virgin, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-352-34785-5

This reprint of Da Costa's 2010 novel Continuum is blistering hot, thick with tension, and drenched in titillating kink as an independent career woman narrates her introduction to the pain and pleasure of spanking. After an outburst at work, feisty Joanna Darrell is commanded to take a sabbatical at a resort designated by her company. When she arrives, her reservation appears to have been misplaced, so she agrees to stay with a friendly couple. Joanna has been fantasizing about being a sexual submissive after some experimentation with her new lover, Kevin Steel, and her fantasies become all the more vivid after she watches her hosts play out a kinky scene. Joanna soon learns she was expected and experiences her first hands-on pain and pleasure session. The affable couple is elusive about who set her up, but happy to provide information if she wants to delve deeper into submission. Joanna jaunts around London experiencing expanding sexual encounters and learning about a world of punishment aficionados. As she grapples with the emotions and sensations of sexual punishment, the small cast of characters keeps Joanna grounded—especially Kevin, who's eager for Joanna to become the sub of his dreams. This erotic love story is full of scenes that sizzle as well as passionate emotional depth, with plenty to satisfy fans of both romance and sensual literature. (July)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Red Queen: Chronicles of Alice, Book 2

Christina Henry. Ace, $15 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-26680-9

Henry's sequel to Alice, a retelling of Through the Looking Glass, leaves the City behind as Alice and her companion, Hatcher, begin a quest to find Hatcher's daughter, Jenny. Their dangerous journey takes them through the exposed wastes of the Black King, and into the magic forest of the White Queen, where breaking the rules means death but the rules are always unknown. When Alice and Hatcher are separated, Alice must rediscover her own identity among the choices and challenges that face her and the past that continually tries to draw her back into madness. Alice's ongoing struggle is to distinguish reality from illusion, and Henry excels in mingling the two for the reader as well as her characters. The darkness in this book is that of fairy tales, owing more to Grimm's matter-of-fact violence than to the underworld of the first book; forest-dwelling giants, magic cottages with perpetually burning fires, and magical sacrifices to sustain immortality take the place of sex trafficking and rampant murder. Agent: Lucienne Diver, Knight Agency. (July)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Year's Best Science Fiction: 33rd Annual Collection

Edited by Gardner Dozois. St. Martin's Griffin, $22.99 trade paper (720p) ISBN 978-1-250-08084-4

Legendary science fiction editor Dozois delivers another excellent and provocative annual anthology of the best in the field. Aliette de Bodard, one of several authors whose work appears twice in the collection, explores the dynamics of far future broken families in "Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight" and "The Citadel of Weeping Pearls." Authors find epic adventure on Venus and Mars with Victorian steampunk style in Chaz Brenchley's "The Astrakhan, the Homburg, and the Red Red Coat," rip-roaring frontier outlawry in Michael F. Flynn's "In Panic Town, on the Backward Moon," and Chaucerian intricacy in Ian McDonald's "Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathagan." "Another Word for World" by Ann Leckie and "The Children of Gal" by Allen M. Steele examine colony worlds, and John Kessel's "Consolation" offers a darkly wry future in which New England and the West Coast states have become part of Canada. "The Game of Smash and Recovery," by Kelly Link, "The First Gate of Logic" by Benjamin Rosenbaum, and Kelly Robson's chilling "The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill" explore inhuman perspectives. Dozois is always reliable, and his latest annual is a particularly excellent and illuminating examination of the depth and breadth of current science fiction. (July)

Reviewed on 06/24/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.