Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eleanor Arnason's Tomb of the Fathers

Eleanor Arnason's Tomb of the Fathers is back from the printer! It's such a cute book, I perk up every time I look at it, probably because its cover (by the fabulous Jeanne Gomoll) keeps reminding me how much fun it is to read. Here's a description of the book, the first review (by Publishers Weekly), and blurbs:

In this witty romp of a planetary romance, Arnason’s recurring character Lydia Duluth joins a motley crew of intergalactic travelers to explore the long-lost homeworld of the Atch, who have a mysterious history they'd like to keep buried on the planet they left behind. But the expedition goes awry when a rogue AI, determined to keep the planet and its system quarantined, destroys the star-gate, stranding the expedition on the planet. The travelers encounter the native Atch and discover the Tomb of the Fathers—and see firsthand what can happen when childcare becomes the dominant issue for a species.

Lydia Duluth--interstellar traveler, holovid location scout, and star of several of Arnason’s short stories--explores the purported lost home world of the matriarchal, lizardlike Atch in this stand-alone adventure. She’s joined by her occasional lover Olaf Reykjavik; Vagina “Gina” Dentata, a modified pseudo-ape; Precious Bin, a male Atch; and several artificial intelligences (one of which resides in her head). Lydia discovers warlike female Atch descendants who have killed off the males and now reproduce by cloning, but when she and her team try to leave, they’re trapped by a slightly barmy AI intent on keeping the violent Atch from traveling in space. Fans of Arnason’s dry wit, entertaining character interactions, and complex, imaginative futures will be delighted by this tale and the promise of a forthcoming Lydia Duluth collection. --Publishers Weekly, April 12, 2010

"Eleanor Arnason is a treasure," writes Andrea Hairston, the award-winning author of Mindscape. "Why? She knows her craft, respects her audience, and has a dazzling imagination. She entertains us with fearless writing. Tomb of the Fathers is an elegant thought experiment on gender, class, and ethics. An interstellar comedy of errors, Tomb of the Fathers is laugh out loud funny and also a thought-provoking thriller. Arnason's deft universe-building transported me to the great beyond where I delighted in the company of complex, juicy characters who--whether human, humanoid, machine, or genetic mash-up-- bared their souls. Tomb of the Fathers is the space adventure you've been dying to read. At the last page, I wanted more. Indeed, my only complaint is that I want a sequel now!"

And Carolyn Gilman, author of Halfway Human, says "Fair warning: don't open this book unless you're prepared to spend the next few hours in a world of Marxist aliens, sentient spacesuits, topsy-turvy gender relations, and eyes-glued-to-the-page adventure. Eleanor Arnason writes fast-paced space drama riddled with wry humor and social commentary. Heavens, it's tasty."

As we usually do for our books, we'll be offering Tomb of the Fathers at a reduced price through our site-- $12-- until its official publication date (June 1). You can purchase it here.

ETA: I've just seen a review from Booklist: Adventurers Lydia Duluth and Olaf Reykjavik, ape-woman Geena Dent, an AI called Mantis, and the Atch called Precious Bin, who is a Marxist as well as a member of an alien race (i.e., the Atch), are hired to visit the recently rediscovered Atch homeworld in what is, in part, an experiment in interbiological relations. Their employer, an AI, wishes to study how biological creatures interact and handle first contact. The trip to the planet isn’t as simple as it should be. When a rogue AI destroys the local stargate, the party is stranded on the planet, with only their wits and some very fancy sentient spacesuits to help them survive a series of encounters with hostile resident Atch. The true charm of this story lies in its reversal of gender stereotypes. The Atch homeworld, populated entirely by females, is far from a matriarchal paradise. Of course, this is because they can reproduce only by cloning, Atch females being unequipped for childbearing. A short novel, but thought-provoking and entertaining.--Regina Schroeder (May 15, 2010)

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