Lookin’ Good: Four titles from Ian McDonald’s backlist now available in ebook format!

KingofMorningQueenofDayI just received some wonderful news from the good folks at Open Road Media: four older titles by acclaimed SF author Ian McDonald are now available as ebooks! I’m sure many people discovered McDonald through his brilliant and award-winning The Dervish House, or maybe even more recently via his excellent new YA series (Planesrunner, Be My Enemy, reviewed here and here). Slightly older fans will remember Terminal Cafe (alternate title: Necroville) and the Evolution’s Shore books (which, by the way, could stand to be re-released too…), and some of us maybe go back all the way to his 1988 debut novel Desolation Road, a stunning novel I picked up more or less by accident at the time because I (mistakenly) believed it had something to do with the Bob Dylan song “Desolation Row”.

Whatever the case, four of Ian McDonald’s titles from the early-to-mid Nineties are now available again: King of Morning, Queen of Day, The Broken Land, Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone, and Sacrifice of Fools. (I believe most of these were previously out of print at least in the US, but I may be wrong. I definitely hadn’t seen them on the shelves anywhere for a long time.)

Ian McDonald is one of those authors who seems to reinvent himself every decade or so – compare the synopses for these novels to his later SF set in developing countries, and especially his current multiverse-spanning YA series. This quality makes Ian McDonald a particularly interesting author for delvers like myself, people who tend to read an author’s entire back catalog once they’ve found something interesting. Even better, in my case: somehow Open Road Media managed to pick four of the only six or so novels by Ian Mcdonald I actually hadn’t read yet, so this is really a treat for me and, I’m sure, for many other fans of the author!

Here are the four re-releases, in their original order of publication:

King of Morning, Queen of Day (1991):

Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award and the Prix Imaginales: Three generations of women share a mysterious power—one that threatens to destroy them

In early-twentieth-century Ireland, life for Emily Desmond is that of the average teenage girl: She reads, she’s bored with school, and she has a powerful imagination. Then things begin to change. Her imagination is so powerful, in fact, that she wills a faerie into existence—an ability called mythoconsciousness. It’s this power that opens a dangerous door that she will never want to close, and whose repercussions will reverberate across time.

First to be affected is her daughter, Jessica, who, in the mid-1930s, finds that she must face her mother’s power by using the very same gift against her. Then, in the near future, Jessica’s granddaughter, Enye, must end the cycle once and for all—but it may prove too powerful to overcome.

TheBrokenLandThe Broken Land (1992; alternate title Hearts, Hands and Voices):

Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award and the Prix Imaginales: Three generations of women share a mysterious power—one that threatens to destroy them

In early-twentieth-century Ireland, life for Emily Desmond is that of the average teenage girl: She reads, she’s bored with school, and she has a powerful imagination. Then things begin to change. Her imagination is so powerful, in fact, that she wills a faerie into existence—an ability called mythoconsciousness. It’s this power that opens a dangerous door that she will never want to close, and whose repercussions will reverberate across time.

First to be affected is her daughter, Jessica, who, in the mid-1930s, finds that she must face her mother’s power by using the very same gift against her. Then, in the near future, Jessica’s granddaughter, Enye, must end the cycle once and for all—but it may prove too powerful to overcome.

ScissorsCutPaperWrapStoneScissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone (1994):

Ethan Ring has created the ultimate power to kill . . . but will it consume him? Also included is The Tear, finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Novel

Fracters are the next wave in military technology. Developed by a design student named Ethan Ring, they are images that can control the minds of others, giving their users the power to hurt, hypnotize, or even kill.

Witnessing the destruction that his invention has wrought, Ring finds himself guilt ridden and depressed. Seeking redemption, he embarks on a Shikoku pilgrimage across cyber-feudal twenty-first-century Japan, through the eighty-eight sacred sites of Shingon Buddhism. With the help of his friend Masahiko, Ring tours this strange new Japan in search of ways to rid himself of the curse that he has created. In the process, he not only learns about himself, he discovers new ways to use this terrible weapon to help and heal.

With Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone, author Ian McDonald has created an indelible introspective journey through one of the most haunting environments imaginable.

Also included is The Tear, a stunning novella set in a far-future world whose inhabitants develop multiple “aspects:” completely separate personalities that take over when required. The story follows young Ptey as he matures, takes on new aspects, and plays a vital role in a battle against an implacable enemy. The resulting story is tragic, hopeful, packed with ideas, and completely memorable.

SacrificeOfFoolsSacrifice of Fools (1996):

Protestants, Catholics, aliens . . . Just another division in Belfast

When the alien Shian come to Earth, they offer technology in exchange for a home. Belfast, Northern Ireland, is where eighty thousand of them settle. From that point on, the already-divided city takes on yet another partition. The Shian integrate themselves into the city’s culture, becoming one more set of faces in the crowd. Now, a series of ghastly murders has stunned the city and affected both the Shian and the humans.

Andy Gillespie, a Loyalist and former criminal, is immediately named the main suspect in the killings. To clear his name, he must find the true perpetrators, and in order to do so, he must get help from any source possible—be it Protestant, Catholic, or extraterrestrial.

Shortlisted for the James Tiptree Jr. Award, Sacrifice of Fools depicts a city at once familiar and peculiar. Belfast resident Ian McDonald’s interpretation of his hometown is one in which the people live their lives to the best of their abilities; one in which they have to deal with the basics of life with extraterrestrials, from language barriers to surprising new fetishes. Here, Belfastians discover how little things truly change.

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