Kindle Spotlight: Novels on the Locus 2008 Recommended Reading List, Part 1

What was great in 2008 and possibly early 2009? This year’s Locus Online recommended reading list is up.

Here’s what’s available on the Kindle.

Science Fiction Novels

Matter by Iain M. Banks

Buy: Kindle Store

Available on February 10th, the eight novel in his acclaimed Culture series. If there’s a “high science-fiction”, then this is it.

Weaver by Stephen Baxter

Buy: Kindle Store

The last book in an alternate history Time’s Tapestry series that began with Emperor in Rome, continued with Conqueror (Dark Ages) and Navigator (late 1400s), and now ends in World War II.

City at the End of Time by Greg Bear

Buy: Kindle Store

Telepathic communication between two groups eons upon eons apart, between three Seattlites now and two ultra-evolved beings near the heat-death of the Universe.

Incandescence by Greg Egan

Buy: WebscriptionsPaperback

Sample chapters available from Webscriptions.

Lovely beginning:

“Are you a child of DNA?”

Rakesh was affronted; if he’d considered this to be information that any stranger wandering by had a right to know, it would have been included in his précis.

Marsbound by Joe Haldeman

Buy: Kindle Store

You would never have guessed it from the cover, but this is a tale involving a strong young adult heroine who lives in a Mars space colony, and stumbles across real Martians. Nevertheless, this is not YA.

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

Buy: Kindle Store

A very big book. Good thing it’s available for the Kindle. Jo Walton has a spectacular post on about the book, Anathem: what does it gain from not being our world?

Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross

Buy: Kindle Store

I reviewed it here. (Note: not a review, and rather shorter.)

Rolling Thunder by John Varley

Buy: Kindle Store

Military science fiction, the sequel to Red Lightening, and it name drops Podkayne. (And yes, the character is a third-generation Martian. What is it about that name? Ah, Heinlein.)

Implied Spaces (Paperback) by Walter Jon Williams

Buy: WebscriptionsPaperback

Sample chapters at Webscriptions.

The following summary paragraph put this book on my radar:

Traveling the pocket universes with his wormhole-edged sword Tecmessa in hand and talking cat Bitsy, avatar of the planet-sized computer Endora, at his side, Aristide must find a way to save the multiverse from subversion, sabotage, and certain destruction.

Fantasy Novels

An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham

Buy: Kindle Store

The third book in the Long Price Quartet, preceeded by books 1 and 2, A Shadow in Summer and A Betrayal in Winter (the latter not yet on the Kindle).

The last in the series, The Price of Spring, is forthcoming later in 2009.

The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak

Buy: Kindle Store

Another haunting novel, split up into multiple stories set in Japan (“Realer Than You”, “The Suicide Club”, “If You Can Read This You’re Too Close”).

The Ghost in Love: A Novel by Jonathan Carroll

Buy: Kindle Store

Ben Gould slips and dies—or should have died. Due to a technical problem, Heaven has placed him and others on indefinite hold, as it were. Which leaves them free to explore the space between life and the afterlife. ((Yes, my own copy from late October.))

The Island of Eternal Love by Daina Chaviano

Buy: Kindle Store

The first English translation of one of Chaviano’s works, it’s supernatural historical fiction involving hauntings, imps, and clairvoyants. Winner of the Best Spanish Language Book prize in the 2007 Florida Book Awards.

The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford

Buy: Kindle Store

The children in a dysfunctional family cope by developing their own alternate reality through a miniature Botch Town, populated with models of people in the neighborhood.

Yes, that venture doesn’t turn out well for them, or at least, it turns out creepy spooky murder mystery.

Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet by Gregory Frost

Kindle Store (Shadowbridge)
Kindle Store (Lord Tophet)

Shadowbridge and its sequel, Lord Tophet, focus on the adventures of Leodora, an orphaned 16-year-old with a talent for puppetry and storytelling, who walks through a world of mythical creatures and dark chaos energy.

Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin

Buy: Kindle Store

Lavinia, Aeneas’ second wife, is barely mentioned in the Aeneid. Le Guin takes the tale of Lavinia and spins it out fully, as you would expect.

The Bell at Sealey Head by Patricia A. Mckillip

Buy: Kindle Store

Romance, intrigue, and mystery in a mansion by the seaside where an unseen magical bell haunts the town.

The Engine’s Child by Holly Phillips

Buy: Kindle Store

According to Meredith Schwartz in Library Journal: “Her lush prose and dark fantasy cityscape will appeal to fans of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station and Sarah Monette’s Melusine, but her manipulative, scarred, sexual, unapologetic antiheroine recalls Elizabeth Bear or Melissa Scott.” ((From New on Kindle: Black Friday.))

The Enchantress of Florence: A Novel by Salman Rushdie

Buy: Kindle Store

Featured in Amazon’s Best of June 2008.

An Evil Guest by Gene Wolfe

Buy: Kindle Store

I reviewed it here. (Note: not a review.)

To be continued next time with First and Young Adult novels.

4 thoughts on “Kindle Spotlight: Novels on the Locus 2008 Recommended Reading List, Part 1

  1. Well colour me disgusted. I only just now discovered that you cannot buy a Kindle book from Amazon if you don’t have a Kindle. Just when I was contemplating actually shelling out (I have an iLiad and figured I could do some unlocking and format-shifting if necessary)… guess I won’t be paying quite as much attention to your lists in future :-/

    In completely unrelated news, I read your Shadow Unit edition with great enjoyment — thanks for putting it together! And I’ve been enjoying your reviews on too.

    You’re such a good advocate I can’t help wishing I agreed with your choice of which technology to back. (I also wish there was a system I could get wholeheartedly behind — the iLiad ain’t it, if only because of the price and the general awfulness of the software. For me deliberate device lockdown trumps that, but I’m willing to admit that’s pure politics talking.)

  2. Hi tikitu,

    Yes, currently the Kindle store is just for the Kindle. I doubt that most of the publishers will allow Amazon to sell their books in electronic editions without this lockdown. Amazon does pretty weird things though. I’m not sure that the Kindle store will always remain “just” the Kindle store, but it’ll take a lot more clue on the publisher side before *that* happens.

    My lists are still useful in that they cover many new books and newly reprinted books, and there’s a reason I added what’s essentially my own catalog copy to every entry. :) But yes, it’s a bit like pushing your face at a candy store window if you haven’t a Kindle.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying Shadow Unit! I want to press forward with this for Season 2, and am still decided what to do about it. Shadow Unit season 1 will probably come out in epub soon, so that Sony Readers (or at least the most recent versions) can also enjoy it. Season 2 will be in both Mobipocket and Epub.

    I’m glad you enjoy my reviews too. :)

    As for the Kindle, I know I won’t convince you, and I’m not looking to; I’m just sharing the three most important reasons I back it over the Reader, iLiad, and anything else:

    1. I back it because Amazon opened the device to interesting things when they by default incorporated network capabilities into it. I commute for hours every weekday—something like 4 hours every day—so the ability to buy a book or, more usefully, a newspaper or blog on demand on a ferry in the middle of Puget Sound (without hooking into another separate wireless company!) is just insanely useful.

    2. I also back the Kindle because Amazon drives it. Amazon has book-selling down to an art. People, I think, underestimate just how much Amazon’s experience in selling books online enables them to enhance any book-selling experience, ebook or real book or even possibly POD. The service and buying experience is extremely good.

    3. And of course I also back the Kindle ’cause I can read Mobipockets from other sources on it. Other readers can also do this of course, and support more formats like epub, but I wouldn’t have bought the Kindle if I couldn’t do at least that; it means that if for some reason the Kindle store went *poof* I can still read pretty much everything.

    Anyways, thanks for reading my little blog! Shadow Unit at least can be enjoyed universally. :)

  3. Candy store window. Yup. I was /so/ going to drop some dollars… Sigh.

    Good point on the networking. It’s not part of how I use my reader, but that would probably be different if there was a whopping great store tempting me at every moment.

    I agree totally that Amazon are great folks to be in the ebook business. I guess I’m frustrated that to get the benefit of their expertise you need to buy not just their ebooks but their hardware.

    (There’s an ideology adding to that frustration, for sure, but it’s not that I think Amazon is evil; I just don’t agree with that /particular/ decision to keep a closed shop. I also believe it’s basically unnecessary. It looks to me like they’re putting their faith in what’s essentially a DRM strategy [Kindle as dongle, catchy slogan]. I don’t believe it’ll work, and I believe in the long term Amazon will realise that [reluctantly, probably] and open things up. But short-term it’s infuriating.)

  4. I agree, it would be better if the Kindle store were open to everybody. But good news, sorta—on Monday they announced that they wanted to open the Kindle store to other mobile devices, but no hints yet as to what up with that or when.

    I also agree with you that in the long term DRM isn’t going to work out. And hope that Amazon does catch the clue…

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