The OF Blog: ARCs and targets

Monday, February 04, 2008

ARCs and targets

I receive Advance Review Copies (ARCs) fairly regularly now, although not to the degree that many others do. In the past week, I have received 9 different books, 6 of them in ARC form. It is interesting to read the publicity releases/press kits and seeing some of the apparent target audiences.

For example, I received two books from Orbit US on Saturday. The first was an ARC for the upcoming first volume in the Godspeaker trilogy by Karen Miller, Empress. Epic/secondary-world fantasy based on the summation I read. The other book is also an opener to a trilogy, called Blood Ties, and it is by Pamela Freeman. This is a debut novel and the cover blurb contains references to elves and realms and thus too would be generally categorized as being Epic/secondary-world fantasy.

From Del Rey, I also received two books, one on Friday, the other also on Saturday. The first was the finished hardcover edition of Elizabeth Moon's Victory Conditions, which closes out a SF series. The other is an ARC for an original anthology, edited by Ellen Datlow, called The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy and it contains quite the mixture of authors. Its apparent target are those readers who like a mixture of urban fantasy and not-so-hard SF.

I received four books today from the new imprint of Wizards of the Coast, Discoveries. The first one I noticed, is J.M. McDermott's Last Dragon. While those reading the WotC name might think these books will be D&D-style adventures, from what I understand reading the blurb and a few other reviews (Jeff VanderMeer's in particular stands out to me), this is a more "literary" (I put that in quotations only to denote that's what some would call it, but it's not a preferred label of mine) fantasy. I shall be reading/reviewing this one shortly. The other titles are intriguing as well. Richard Dansky's Firefly Rain (already out in stores) is called a "Southern Gothic" in the press release. Melanie and Steve Rasnic Tam's The Man on the Ceiling is a revision of a Bram Stoker-winning novella and it carries Harlan Ellison's seal of approval on its cover. And Rob Rogers' debut novel Devil's Cape is described as being a mixture of crime, psychological, and supernatural thrillers. These books seem to be more oriented to those who read a variety of genre styles.

And finally, I received from the Putnam Penguin Group's New American Library imprint a copy of Natasha Mostert's Season of the Witch. From the description, it would probably be labelled as an urban fantasy/paranormal romance novel.

These variations are not surprising to me. Those who've read my reviews here know that I cover quite a bit in each of these fields and that I'm favorable to reading anything that isn't "standard fare." I just found it interesting that I received such a variety in such a short period of time and I thought some of the readers here might be curious to know which ARCs I plan on reading/reviewing next.


Robert said...

Larry, glad you got that WOTC Discoveries package :) Also saw your review for "Last Dragon". I probably won't read it in the near future, but it'll stay at the top of my list. "Season of the Witch" was actually a nice surprise. On the surface it sounds like a pretty generic urban fantasy novel, but it offers some interesting dynamics. I personally liked it :)

Larry Nolen said...

Yeah, it was a nice Monday present. And again, thanks for giving me Sara's contact info :D I would suggest that you do bump up the McDermott just a bit more, but that's just me ;) I'll probably read that other book in the near future, because a thumb-through revealed some interesting scenes.

Robert said...

You're more than welcome :) Regarding "Last Dragon", you see I review books by their release dates and there are ten novels coming out by March 4th that I personally want to read. Unfortunately, since I'm not nearly as fast a reader as you are, I have to skip a few. Still, the reviews I've been seeing have me intrigued so maybe I'll be able to fit in :)

Robert said...

Btw, I meant to mention this graphic novel to you. It was included in my February spotlight and I thought you might be interested in it. Have heard nothing but great things about! Here's what I wrote up:

“Incognegro” by Mat Johnson. Release Date: February 6, 2008. Novelist Mat Johnson—winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction—constructs a fearless graphic novel that is both a page-turning mystery and a disturbing exploration of race & self-image in America, masterfully illustrated by Warren Pleece (Hellblazer). This tale, about forgotten heroes of the battle for racial justice, is not only a vital work of social commentary, it’s a blistering thriller that will leave you both exhilarated & outraged…

Larry Nolen said...

I understand the need to pick and choose as even I couldn't read/review adequately every single book being released over any given month. Hope you'll find the time in the near future, though, as I do believe it's a well above-average story.

Larry Nolen said...

And for that graphic novel, while I struggle to read those at times (strangely, my newly-developed astigmatism is much worse with images than with words, even with eyewear), that does sound interesting.

Rob Rogers said...

Hi, Larry.

I'm glad to hear someone sent you a copy of Devil's Cape. I hope you like it.


Larry Nolen said...

Hey Rob, thanks for dropping by! I have it and I plan on reading it later this month, once I get a few other reviews completed. And I saw you lived for a while in Nashville, so that's one more reason to bump this book up a bit, not that I play favorites or anything ;)

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