Alec

Alec's Staff Picks

It's not escapism if you are escaping into your own world, so I enjoy a good science fiction or fantasy book. Science and nature are good, too, when I'm in the mood to expand my knowledge (which is quite often).

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Dial H Vol. 1: Into You (The New 52) Cover Image
By China Mieville, Mateus Santolouco (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9781401237752
Availability: Out of Print
Published: DC Comics - April 23rd, 2013

Bookseller: Alec
Title: Dial H: Into You


Comments:

This reboot of a Silver Age comic brings plenty of Mieville's oddities to bear in a frenetic story of mysterious badies and even more mysterious allies. Nelson, a lazy schlub of a man, is chosen by circumstance to become a superhero and finds that hero part was always inside of him - sounds pretty standard, I know, but it serves as a good grounding for all of the strange things going on around him. What is Abyss, and what does it want? What is the creature on the other end of the line?


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Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas Cover Image
By Jim Ottaviani, Maris Wicks (Illustrator)
$22.99
ISBN: 9781596438651
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: First Second - June 11th, 2013

Bookseller: Alec
Title:


Comments:

Are you ready for this journey? Do you have your backpack, waterskin, machete, tent, etc.? You'll also have to bring your full range of emotions and wonder for this comic. Jane, Dian, and Birute all had their share of exciting, frightening, and enlightening moments. Isn't it time you learned about three of the world's most influential primatologists?

Ottaviani's writing is light but not devoid of material, and Wicks' illustrations playful without becoming satire.


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The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo (Pulitzer Prize for Biography) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780307382474
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - May 14th, 2013

Bookseller: Alec
Title: The Black Count


Comments:

His was the true story behind the Count of Monte Christo. The duels he fought were again performed by d'Artagnon, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos. Alex Dumas was, in many ways, his son's hero - in life and in his books.

The amount of effort put into researching this biography practically lights up the pages. Dumas's story is closely intertwined with the surprisingly enlightened state of France in the late 18th century - with both being summarily erased during the rise of Napoleon.


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Joe the Barbarian Cover Image
By Grant Morrison, Sean Murphy (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9781401237479
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Vertigo - March 12th, 2013

Bookseller: Alec
Title: Joe the Barbarian


Comments:

When Joe awakens in his room in hypoglycemic shock, a whole new world awaits him. To his toys he is the Dying Boy, destined to drive away the darkness of King Death - if only he could find some soda and reset the circuit breaker. The two worlds are tied to each other; but are the metaphors simply a manifestion of reality, or are they the true underpinnings of his life?

The art alone is worth a peek: the lines and coloring give a life and emotion to the crazy things that Joe meets on his adventures. I found a great character in Jack - or Chakk - Joe's pet rat and runt of the seven barbarians. Give it a look.


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A Little Book of Sloth Cover Image
By Lucy Cooke, Lucy Cooke (Photographs by)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781442445574
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - March 5th, 2013

Bookseller: Alec
Title: A Little Book of Sloth


Comments:

I have a giant dilemma, and I need your help. I cannot for the life of me decide whether baby three-toed sloths are cuter than baby two-toed sloths. I consider myself a connoisseur of cute animals; I've raised otters and emus, rehabilitated hummingbirds, and dealt with all sorts of cute creatures before - and even I am stumped! Please help! Read this book!


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Fuzzy Nation Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780765367037
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Tor Science Fiction - March 27th, 2012

Bookseller: Alec
Title: Fuzzy Nation


Comments:

Based around the discovery of a possibly sentient, but more importantly endearing and adorable alien species, this book is a real feel-good read. Jack Holloway is morally ambiguous in a rapscallion-disbarred-from-being-a-lawyer kinda way; we are constantly reminded by his words that he isn't such a great person, but do his actions speak differently? The real stars are the Fuzzies, whose charm is just sweet and wild enough to be believable, and the dog, Carl, who enjoys blowing things up. Add to this some grandstand courtroom drama, and you've got a fun, easy read. Also check out Little Fuzzy, the 1963 Hugo-nominated book that Fuzzy Nation was inspired by.


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Acacia: The Acacia Trilogy, Book One Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385722520
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Anchor - August 26th, 2008

Bookseller: Alec
Title: Acacia: The War with the Mein


Comments:

A note before I begin: I listened to the audio version, read by Dick Hill. What a great experience!

A smorgasbord of diverse people and characters, philosophies, religions, histories and battles. Compelling bad guys and dastardly plots, subterfuge and betrayal, angry gods and pirates. Written by a notable historical fiction author, this foray into fantasy is kilograms of story in a one-pound book. Perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin and Bernard Cornwell.


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A Wolf at the Door: A Jesse James Dawson Novel (Jesse Dawson #3) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780451464637
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ace - August 7th, 2012

Bookseller: Alec
Title: A Wolf at the Door


Comments:

In this third volume featuring the Kansas City samurai, Jesse Dawson takes on more demons, fleshless men, and the agents of LA when he receives a tip that the life of a superstar holds the key to a power that could shift the balance in a secret demon war.

Complex characterizations and good pacing continue to set this downright fun series apart.


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Sorry Please Thank You: Stories Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307907172
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Pantheon - July 24th, 2012

Bookseller: Alec
Title: Sorry Please Thank You


Comments:

A heady aroma of tongue-in-cheek wafts from Charles Yu's melancholy-pie examination of the human condition. Each bite has something different: a plethora of flavors, from creamy introspection to the lingering burn of an unrequited pepper. Flavors that, when combined, create an odd but playful umami on the tongue.

While metaflavor may take some time to get used to, the extra chewing involved can uncover unparalleled literary experiences. Whether you nibble at it as an appetizer, or gobble the entire thing at once (like me), you are in for a treat.


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The Quantum Thief (Jean le Flambeur #1) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780765367662
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Tor Science Fiction - January 31st, 2012

Bookseller: Alec
Title: The Quantum Thief


Comments:

This heist tale set far in the future is a kaleidoscope of walking cities, dilemma prisons, mind-stealing pirates, and an economy based on how much time remains before a person dies. It may take a little time to orient yourself, but once you do, the reward is a real post-human treat.

Though the characters are certainly more than human, their relationships, needs, and desires are uniquely human. May require significant time to grok.


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The Last Policeman Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594745768
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Quirk Books - July 10th, 2012

Bookseller: Alec
Title: The Last Policeman


Comments:

A mystery. A coming apocalypse. The very infrastructure of the world has changed. People are walking away from their jobs, and services we take for granted are becoming hard to find. Incidents of suicide are skyrocketing. Gas is unavailable except to government employees. The US is looking more and more like a military state. So why does one suspicious suicide matter? Why solve a murder if it won't matter in six months? Hank Palace may be the new naive, book-smart detective in Concord, but to solve this case he must shift everything he knows about investigation to a world gone off its rocker.


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Caliban's War (The Expanse #2) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316129060
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Orbit - June 26th, 2012

Bookseller: Alec
Title: Caliban's War


Comments:

Though some of the horror from Leviathan Wakes has been replaced with political maneuvering, its sequel provides just as many thrills as Corey expands the universe and the problems that exist within. Holden and crew are joined by three other POV characters, each of them entertaining in their own way; though I do have to say that the foul-mouthed Indian grandmother who has the UN by the balls was a particular treat. Strong female characters who aren't exceptional specifically because of gender, and an increasingly multifaceted plot play off of the quick writing and coalesce into a worthy sequel.


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City of Saints and Madmen Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780553383577
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Spectra Books - February 28th, 2006

Bookseller: Alec
Title: City of Saints and Madmen


Comments:

A fever-dream smorgasboard of miscellanea; stories and essays and squid and arguments, all from different voices clamoring for your attention. And under it all, the spectacular city of Ambergris, a singular labyrinthine enigma built of exotic people, enchanted fungus, and sensuous horror.

For those readers looking for something more experimental.


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A Confusion of Princes Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780060096946
Availability: Out of Print
Published: HarperCollins - May 15th, 2012

Bookseller: Alec
Title: A Confusion of Princes

Comments:
Prince Khemri is effectively immortal, strongly psychic, and physically indomitable, so what has he to worry about? Considering the fact that this is the story of his first three deaths, he obviously has a lot to learn.

Reminiscent of Dune and Ender's Game, this book will appeal to anyone who appreciates a good, twisty coming-of-age story within a complex alien society.