In order: out of Tor, R.S. Belcher’s The Six-Gun Tarot. Out of Victor Gollancz for review for Strange Horizons, C. Robert Cargill’s Dreams and Shadows. Out of Jo Fletcher Books, Ian McDonald’s Planesrunner (which I hope to review for summer Ideomancer.com). Out of Titan Books, Melanie Rawn’s Elsewhens (hope to treat of it in a column), John Birmingham’s Without Warning, and James P. Blaylock’s Homunculus and Lord Kelvin’s Machine.
See, the problem for me with the last few named is the nice publicist at Titan emails and says, do you think you might be interested in reviewing these books?, and the problem is, I’m always interested. So I say Yes, I am! without really thinking about the fact that a)I review books for a limited number of venues (even if our reviews editor at Ideomancer.com seems to be pretty cool with whatever I send in – if I write two reviews a quarter, that’s still only eight books a year – and my only controlling principle for the Tor.com column is that I’m prioritising women’s and queer/queer-friendly writing/media) and b)I have a limited amount of time in which to read books.
(No, really, self. You may have read 200+ books last year, but that was fairly extraordinary. You can’t count on reading more than 100 new books per year.)
(Although, I have to say, I find what Titan’s doing interesting. They seem to have a very limited original SFF line, but are taking books that’ve been successful in the US market and bringing them out in the UK. MilSF seems to be the most notable focus – that’s presumably my perception because they’ve brought out Jack Campbell’s whole backlist – but they’ve got rights to Lackey’s latest Valdemar books, Rawn’s new series, and are bringing Blaylock’s steampunk and Newman’s Jago back into print. But they published Samit Basu’s Turbulence, so I hope they bring more original SFF.)
I don’t consider that I have an obligation, as such, to publicists for publishers, to read and talk about the books they might send. (They takes their chances.) But it’s not, I think, good, to be saying yes too often. I already have too many books on my TBR list, and craptonnes of (mostly reading and writing) work to do.
Although, y’know, I’m not complaining about review copies. They’re pretty great. And I will read them. Just not necessarily swiftly.