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The Joys of the Season: or, The New Gods and the Old

The Joys of the Season: or, The New Gods and the Old published on

[Note from Chris Brant: Tracy sent this to me with the intention that it would go up on December 27th. I didn’t get it up in time. But it’s a fun read, and so here it is.]

Dearest reader,

The weather outside may be frightful, but the books and a wee dash of whisky in my cocoa are so delightful while I’m here curled up on my sofa to write this week’s column (so forgive any typos please). I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, and, as the old year dies, I hope you are ready for a new year of great new books.

You all know that I am far too lazy to compile a comprehensive list of all the new releases in any given month, and certainly don’t have the energy to follow up with everything that is going on in the self published realm, but there are a few self published authors I do follow (including Josiah Bancroft, and if you haven’t read his amazing debut ‘Senlin Ascends’ just do yourself a favor and go get it, it’s fantastic) and one of them, the delightfully grimdarky (grimdarkly?) Sean Rodden is finally gearing up to release a sequel to his first book ‘Whispers of War’, for 2017 called ‘Roars of War’ which may lack the first books alliterative title, but promises an amp up in the violence and death. It’s coming in April, so if you’re looking for your next grimdark adventure, there you go.

If you’re looking for just the opposite, something glorious and amazing and wonderful and rare is headed our way. As I mentioned briefly last week, the legendary Peter Beagle will be releasing his second new book in less than a year when ‘In Calabria’ arrives on Valentines Day. Here is the cover copy the whet your appetite:

‘Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. But one chilly morning, as though from a dream, an impossible visitor appears at the farm. When Claudio comes to her aid, an act of kindness throws his world into chaos. Suddenly he must stave off inquisitive onlookers, invasive media, and even more sinister influences’

And if you didn’t pick up his lovely ‘Summerlong’ when it came out in September, then you shouldn’t wait any longer as it was a wonderful and notably adult fantasy in the sense that the characters are adults, with adult lives and responses rather than teenagers or early twentysomethings. Refreshingly different and fabulously written.

Next week in the first of the 2017 posts, I’ll be talking about my 2016 year in review in books (and will no doubt completely omit something staggeringly good that I loved). But I do want to compliment the media side of 2016 for a stellar year. ‘Arrival’ may well be the best scifi movie I’ve ever seen (and I continue to eat crow for the years of saying the source novella was unfilmable), and ‘Game of Thrones’ gave us a brilliant season while ‘Westworld’ gave us a new series to obsess over (while we wait impatiently for it to return in 2018). ‘The Expanse’ and ‘The Magicians’ made SYFY channel shockingly relevant again as well, and I’m already excited for the second season of both, and while The Shannara Chronicles on MTV didn’t nearly live up to it’s potential (though Austin Butler’s abs should be nominated for something this awards season), I’ll still give season two a chance in the summer in case the showrunners pull off a miracle and right that ship.

This next year we will see the launch of several new properties including ‘Hunted’ where we will also see the adorable (though surprisingly short in person) Myke Cole switching up his career yet again. In addition to having a new book coming out. Where does he find the time?!?

Also in the coming year, as if the coming Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s popular novel about the world of gods and the conflict amongst them weren’t enough, Dark Horse Comics will be adapting the same work into a new limited 27 issue comic series in three major arcs. The story will will begin in American Gods #1 on March 15, 2017. Including a fabulous alternate cover by P Craig Russell (who I once randomly met in a elevator, and it took me 20 minutes to realize who I had just met, so imagine my embarrassment).

That about wraps up my space for the week, but I’ll be back next week with some highlights from 2016. Ta-ta for now, and I’m off to get a little freshener for this drink. Be safe out there, and have a Happy New Year!

Tracy J. Erickson

Tracy J. Erickson

Tracy Erickson has achieved one of his two childhood ambitions and now lives in a library. Sadly, Luke Perry is already married, so he has had to settle a bit on the second one. He loves chai, books, Mike' and 'Ikes and bigger books. When Mike and Ike broke up last year, he had complete faith that they'd get back together, once they realized what a horror the dating scene is.
Tracy J. Erickson

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