Larry Correia is well-known to Uncle Hugo’s customers for Monster Hunter International ($7.99) and Monster Hunter Vendetta ($7.99), the first two of an action-packed humorous contemporary fantasy series about a Blackwater-like company that hunts supernatural threats for the secret government bounties. Vendetta was our #1 seller for 2010 and International was #3. Hard Magic ($25.00 hardcover or $15.00 trade paperback, officially early May, but Larry will be signing at Uncle Hugo’s on Saturday, April 30) is the first of a new series, the Grimnoir Chronicles. Classifying it is pretty hard, but Larry refers to it as “noir/pulp/alternative-history/fantasy/ action with blimp fighting, hard boiled detectives, demons, teleporting magic ninjas, Cossack fighting bears, samurai, Tesla super weapons, John M. Browning, Teutonic zombies, and profane squirrels.”
The story is set in 1932, in a world where about 1% of the population has the ability to work magic to some degree (though perhaps no more than being able to light a cigarette without a match) and about 1/10 of the magic users (Actives) have significant power. Jake Sullivan is an Active who was part of a special team of Actives who helped win the World War against the Kaiser’s army of zombies, but he later ended up in prison for protecting a young black magic-user from an angry white mob. To get out of prison, he agrees to help J. Edgar Hoover catch magical murderers; when Hoover lies to him too much, Sullivan goes on the run. Meanwhile, the most powerful magic user in the world (the Chairman) is in charge of Japan’s war effort (including battleship dirigibles), and Sullivan is recruited to join a secret society (led by General Black Jack Pershing) that is convinced the Japanese will soon attack the U.S. with a magical weapon developed by Nikola Tesla. Hard Magic isn’t quite as strong on humor as the Monster Hunter series, but is at least as action-packed. Larry manages to work in all those plot elements he listed above, and makes it work. It’s very hard to put down.
I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Elizabeth Bear, but I recently made the mistake of picking up Chill ($7.99) without realizing that it was the middle book of a trilogy. I was soon so caught up in the story of a generation ship filled with nano technology that I couldn’t force myself to put it down long enough to read Dust ($7.99), the first of the series. By the time I finished Chill, we had run out of Dust and I’m impatiently waiting for our restock order to arrive. The good news is that the final book of the trilogy, Grail ($7.99) will be arriving late in February.