28 February, 2011
There is no possible way for this to fail. Love it.
And that's the news...at least to me.
24 February, 2011
China Mieville gets a face-lift: A couple of my favorites are show below, but you can get a full showing at Werty, Mad Hattsalot, Dribbles of Ink, and more. I really Tor UK did a great job with these covers, representing Mieville's common theme of worlds within worlds
Peter Orullian's The Vault of Heaven Series: Publicity has ratcheted up a notch not to mention the ARC's are already making their way around. There are a few stories, Sacrifice of the First Sheason and The Great Defense of Layosah, an awesome interactive map, and even a couple videos:
Cradle of the Scar -
Part 1: Grant
Part 2: Kaela
(Thanks to The Mad Hatter for putting it all in one handy dandy place)
2010 Nebula Awards: The award that's voted on and presented by members of SFWA has posted some short lists. I've really failed this year, only having read one of the YA nominees. Ouch. :)
- The Native Star, M.K. Hobson (Spectra)
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit UK; Orbit US)
- Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
- Echo, Jack McDevitt (Ace)
- Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)
- Blackout/All Clear, Connie Willis (Spectra)
- ‘‘Arvies’’, Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed Magazine 8/10)
- ‘‘How Interesting: A Tiny Man’’, Harlan Ellison® (Realms of Fantasy 2/10)
- ‘‘Ponies’’, Kij Johnson (Tor.com 1/17/10)
- ‘‘I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno’’, Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed Magazine 6/10)
- ‘‘The Green Book’’, Amal El-Mohtar (Apex Magazine 11/1/10)
- ‘‘Ghosts of New York’’, Jennifer Pelland (Dark Faith)
- ‘‘Conditional Love’’, Felicity Shoulders (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 1/10)
- ‘‘Map of Seventeen’’, Christopher Barzak (The Beastly Bride)
- ‘‘The Jaguar House, in Shadow’’, Aliette de Bodard Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 7/10)
- ‘‘The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara’’, Christopher Kastensmidt (Realms of Fantasy 4/10)
- “Plus or Minus’’, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 12/10)
- ‘‘Pishaach’’, Shweta Narayan (The Beastly Bride)
- ‘‘That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made’’, Eric James Stone (Analog Science Fiction and Fact 9/10)
- ‘‘Stone Wall Truth’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 2/10)
- The Alchemist, Paolo Bacigalupi (Audible; Subterranean)
- ‘‘Iron Shoes’’, J. Kathleen Cheney (Alembical 2)
- The Lifecycle of Software Objects, Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
- ‘‘The Sultan of the Clouds’’, Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine 9/10)
- ‘‘Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance’’, Paul Park (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 1-2/10)
- ‘‘The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window’’, Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine Summer ’10)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
- Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud (directors), Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story) (Illumination Entertainment)
- Doctor Who: ‘‘Vincent and the Doctor’’, Richard Curtis (writer), Jonny Campbell (director)
- How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (directors), William Davies, Dean DeBlois, & Chris Sanders (screenplay) (DreamWorks Animation)
- Inception, Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (screenplay) (Warner)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright (director), Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright (screenplay) (Universal)
- Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich (director), Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, & Lee Unkrich (story) (Pixar/Disney)
Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
- Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
- White Cat, Holly Black (McElderry)
- Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press; Scholastic UK)
- Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, Barry Deutsch (Amulet)
- The Boy from Ilysies, Pearl North (Tor Teen)
- I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (Gollancz; Harper)
- A Conspiracy of Kings, Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow)
- Behemoth, Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse; Simon & Schuster UK)
And that's the news...at least to me.
22 February, 2011
Shatnerquake by Jeff Burk [US] [UK]
After a reality bomb goes off at the first ever ShatnerCon, all of the characters ever played by William Shatner are suddenly sucked into our world. Their mission: hunt down and destroy the real William Shatner. Featuring: Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker, Denny Crane, Priceline Shatner, Cartoon Kirk, Rescue 9-1-1 Shatner, singer Shatner, and many more. No costumed con-goer will be spared in their wave of destruction, no red shirt will make it out alive, and not even the Klingons will be able to stand up to a deranged Captain Kirk with a light saber. But these Shatner- clones are about to learn a hard lesson . . . that the real William Shatner doesn't take crap from anybody. Not even himselfAs Stephen Sullivan said (the person who brought this book to my attention), "If you can read the book description and not immediately buy this, you are a stronger person than me."
21 February, 2011
He needs Rictus because while Corvus is a conqueror, he wants to do so with as much aplomb and as little blood as possible and who wouldn't give up knowing Rictus and his Dogsheads are against you.
While Rictus is legendary and war is something he does best, he is also now a family man with family concerns. Stepping away from them could cost him dear especially if anyone wanted to use them against him.
I quite enjoyed Corvus and possibly even a bit more than The Ten Thousand. While the costs don't seem as great as in The Ten Thousand, Corvus presents problems that are even greater on a personal level regarding decisions people make with their lives and families. For me, this was a more poignant novel than The Ten Thousand.
Corvus actually represents one of the main reasons I read fantasy - to be faced with situations that make you contemplate what it is to be human and what it means to do the right thing.
Why Should You Read Corvus?
This is a great second installment and as good if not better than the first. While the world that Kearney has created is an interesting background, the characters are what set this series apart. If you need a break from complicated worlds and series' and just want something straight-forward with great plot and very little to no magic, this is for you.
I'm really looking forward to the final book in the Macht trilogy, The Kings of the Morning (June 28, 2011) [US] [UK]
4 out of 5 Stars
16 February, 2011
Borders Group Files for Reorganization Relief Under Chapter 11
Secures Commitment for $505 Million in Debtor-in-Possession Financing
Borders to Continue to Conduct Business in Ordinary Course
Chapter 11 Provides Borders with Best Route to Reorganize and Reposition Company for the Long-Term
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
"It has become increasingly clear that in light of the environment of curtailed customer spending, our ongoing discussions with publishers and other vendor related parties, and the company's lack of liquidity, Borders Group does not have the capital resources it needs to be a viable competitor and which are essential for it to move forward with its business strategy to reposition itself successfully for the long term. To position Borders to remedy this condition, Borders Group, with the authorization of its board of directors, has filed a petition for reorganization relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. This decisive action will give Borders the opportunity to achieve a proper infusion of capital in order to have the opportunity to have the time to reorganize in order to reposition itself to be a successful business for the long term," said Mike Edwards, Borders Group President.
"In this regard, operating under Chapter 11, Borders has received commitments for $505 million in Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) financing led by GE Capital, Restructuring Finance. This financing should enable Borders to meet its obligations going forward so that our stores continue to be competitive for customers in terms of goods, services and the shopping experience. It also affords Borders the opportunity to move forward in implementing the appropriate business strategy designed to reposition Borders to be a potentially vibrant, national retailer of books and other products," Mr. Edwards emphasized.
The company said that it is serving customers in the normal course, including honoring its Borders Rewards program, gift cards and other customer programs. Additionally, the company expects to make employee payroll and continue its benefits programs for its employees.
Borders said that it has many strengths upon which to build a solid plan of reorganization and implement a new business model for Borders to address the changing needs of the American reader. "For decades, Borders has been a beacon of engagement - a highly frequented destination for consumers and a significant venue for authors and vendors to showcase new books and merchandise. We have the ability, based on our brick and mortar presence nationally; the on-line capabilities we have in place; the loyalty of, and access to, our customers; and the products and services we offer to be an important and easy access destination of exploration and purchase for readers across the country," commented Mr. Edwards.
The company noted that, among other initiatives and subject to court approval, Borders plans to undertake a strategic Store Reduction Program to facilitate reorganization and its repositioning. Borders has identified certain underperforming stores -- equivalent to approximately 30 percent of the company's national store network -- that are expected to close in the next several weeks. At the same time, the company noted that a major strength of Borders is its national presence, and its extensive network of remaining stores as well as Borders.com, will continue to run in normal course. The company emphasized that the closings were a reflection of economic conditions, cost structures and viability of locations, among other factors, and not on the dedication and productivity of the workforce in these stores.
"We are confident that, with the protection afforded under Chapter 11 and with the support of employees, publishers, suppliers and creditors, and the reading public, a successful reorganization can be achieved enabling Borders to emerge from the process as a stronger and more vibrant book seller," concluded Mr. Edwards.
"We are very pleased to be able to make this commitment to Borders as support for their plan to re-organize the company," said Tim Tobin, Managing Director, Retail Restructuring, GE Capital, Restructuring Finance.
The Chapter 11 petition for relief was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York. Completion of the company's DIP financing arrangements is subject to approval of the Bankruptcy Court and the satisfaction of certain conditions provided in the financing commitments received by the company from the lenders providing such financing.
Additional information about the reorganization is available at www.bordersreorganization.com or by telephone at (877) 906-7675.
About Borders Group, Inc.
Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP) is a leading specialty retailer of books as well as other educational and entertainment items. Online shopping is offered through borders.com. Find author interviews and vibrant discussions of the products we and our customers are passionate about online at facebook.com/borders, twitter.com/borders and youtube.com/bordersmedia. For more information about the company, visit borders.com/media.
Steven Erikson Tourdates: The Crippled God tour is coming to your neighborhood...if you live in Britain. There's also a huge giveaway going on at Floor-to-Ceiling books with the ENTIRE SERIES up for grabs. Yup, all ten books and the last one signed.
The Wertzone Reviews - The Dragon's Path and Leviathan Wakes: I'm very much looking forward to both these works written or co-written by one of my favorite authors, Daniel Abraham. Very much looking forward. Very. Much.
Bankrupt Nihilism: Many have weighed in on this subject from authors (Abercrombie and Bakker) to bloggers (The Wertzone and Floor to Ceiling - although different point made) to those too cool for such a discussion. I think a decent point was made, although execution was not quite the best and it's in the execution that most of the detractors have focused. Jeff, at Genre Reader, made a similar point, but has yet to get lambasted for his views.
And that's the news...at least to me.
15 February, 2011
This made me laugh, a lot, probably harder than it should have, especially Donatello. :)
12 February, 2011
Larry Niven and Edward Lerner have teamed up again for a sequel to Destroyer of Worlds (2009) [US] [UK] and another prequel to Ringworld (1970) [US] [UK]. Betrayer of Worlds (2010) [US] [UK] is the fourth in this series and as far as I'm aware, also the final installment...for now. :)
Ringworld has made famous the idea of worlds circling a star, a result of Niven imagining a more efficient version of the Dyson Sphere. This idea has permutated the genre showing up in Iain M. Banks' Culture series, Alistair Reynolds' House of Suns, and even Halo (the video game).
Betrayer of Worlds begins with Nathan Graynor (a.k.a. Louis Wu), who is someone people who've read the original Ringworld will recognize. I've yet to read the original, but I did just find it at a used bookstore, so expect a review of that sometime (just don't hold your breath).
Nathan Graynor ended up on the planet Wunderland after a series of unpleasant occurrences, one of which landing him in a hospital, addicted to painkillers.
It is in these set of circumstances that Nathan/Louis is found by Nessus, a member of one of the craziest species of aliens/creatures I've probably ever encountered in my readings. They have two heads, two hearts, two mouths, and hooves. They are also prone to extreme bouts of paranoia and easily apt to catatonia under the smallest amounts of pressure or fear. They are the Puppeteers. So named by humans because of their tendency to do whatever they possibly can to reduce their paranoia - involving no small amount of scheming and conniving to get their way.
At first, I was afraid that the tendency of the Puppeteers toward paranoia would be too comical or take too much away from the story, but it really just ends up being a funny aspect that plays well into the world and plot. Really well done.
After searching, with futile results, for Louis' famous fathers (step and natural), his last option is their offspring, Louis, hoping he will have similar skills to save Nessus and the rest of the Puppeteers from possible disaster caused by the sociopathic, Achilles, who has possibly brought the Puppeteers into conflict with another alien species, the Gw'oth.
The Gw'oth are another interesting species who have developed in technology in a fraction of the time of any other advanced species, having the ability to reverse-engineer almost anything and then improving greatly thereon. The Gw'oth don't play a huge role in the story, outside of the looming threat, but they do add something I don't think I've ever seen in a naming scheme, the second apostrophe. A major player of the Gw'oth, Ol't'ro, is a 16-plex mind that is the leader of a colony planet of the Gw'oth. I really just wanted to show you his name though. :)
There's lots of good space action and only limited reference to the technology used, probably because most of it's been explained already, but I know that scares some people away. The focus is mainly on the story, the action, the "betrayals" as mentioned in the title and it's certainly entertaining.
A lot of the story revolved around the hulls of the ships, the indestructible General Products hulls, which I thought was a bit odd and I really wish the Gw'oth played a bigger part, but other than that I quite enjoyed Betrayer of Worlds and definitely need to get back to the story's roots with Ringworld and its sequels.
Why Should You Read Betrayer of Worlds?
Betrayer of Worlds gives a lot of backstory to a universe made famous by Larry Niven. It's entertaining enough in its own right, but for fans of the world/universe, it's really worth it. Betrayer of Worlds stands on its own with a fully-contained story, although it does reference plenty of earlier events, so beware of spoilers if you plan on only grabbing this one.
3.5 out of 5 stars
11 February, 2011
Justin made an offhand comment in a post regarding an article by N.K. Jemison about Feminism in Epic Fantasy saying he might have agreed with her 15 years ago but that it's not really the case now.
Then Ruth rebuts with a list of male-centric works (which I pointed out most of which at least started over 15 years ago).
This is a tough question to get to the bottom of. Have we changed in the last 15 years with works like Sanderson's Mistborn, Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, Shadowmarch, Shadows of the Apt, I would even put in Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen?
I think, and this is the lawyer part of me, that the most that can be said is we've gotten a bit better, but I still don't even know if I can say that because there are plenty of non-male-centric books out there that were written earlier than 15 years ago. Dragonriders of Pern, Dragon Prince (male leads but very strong female characters), and some more listed in the comments to Ruth's post.
Either side you're on there will be plenty of evidence to show the contrary, so maybe we should just attack the premise in general. Does that mean we shouldn't argue it? Of course not. :)
I think Mark Charan Newton has also brought this issue up a few times (although that link isn't exactly what I was looking for).
And that's the news...at least to me.
10 February, 2011
The author has clearly read some Richard Morgan and Peter F. Hamilton.
Do you think we will hit a/the singularity in our lifetimes? I do. I hope so. Would spice things up a bit.
Pat Rothfuss Interview by Suvudu: Pat lets us know a little about the extremely long wait time between The Name of the Wind and Wise Man's Fear. Interesting that the first draft he submitted back in the day had things like,
James S. A. Corey Interview by Orbit: I have to admit, when I first heard about Daniel Abraham collaborating with Ty Franck for Leviathan Wakes, I thought Daniel Abraham was doing all the work with Ty Franck jumping on the boat. Not so, it's definitely a joint effort. Ty Franck had the entire world laid out and let's be honest, Daniel Abraham is an amazing writer. Parts II and III are on Youtube.
And that's the news...at least to me.
09 February, 2011
When I first heard of this book and even after the first couple pages, I thought, don't we already have The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Not so, not so.
I'm really glad my first impressions were wrong because How to Live Safely Blah Blah Blah is a book that's much different and entirely it's own awesome experience. Hilarious at times, nerdy at others, fun, entertaining, with some clever ideas, How to Live Safely [US] [UK] is a book of introspection, introducing the more serious theme of making something of yourself rather than waiting for that day to come.
The protagonist is Charles Yu himself as he deals with the very real theories of time travel. Charles has a dysfunctional family, as many of us do, and much of the narrative focuses and their relationship, which I'm guessing isn't too far off from the truth.
Maybe it was the time travel aspect alone, but I this book really reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut, especially Slaughterhouse Five. Humor mixed with heavy emotions...and then there's time travel mixed in.
Why Should You Read How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe?
How to Live Safely is different from anything else you'll read this year and I"m sure you won't regret it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
4.5 out of 5 Stars
08 February, 2011
Here's the Shortlist:
Monsters of Men [US] [UK] - Patrick Ness
How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe [US] [UK] - Charles Yu
Dante's Journey [US] [UK] - JC Marino (my review)
The Passage [US] [UK] - Justin Cronin
Kraken [US] [UK] - China Mieville
And the Winner is...
And the Runner-Up is...
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Congrats to China Miéville!
I've spoken to China, who btw is an awesome guy, and he's happy to be interviewed by the panelists (i.e. me, Jared from Pornokitch, and Jamie from Mithril Wisdom). Look for that to come probably early March.
07 February, 2011
The Heroes is a departure from Best Served Cold, in a fairly minor sense, in the way it treats its protagonists. No longer solely motivated by revenge, our new heroes are instead on quest for redemption. Leave it to Mr. Abercrombie to make that pill just as bitter as all the others his protagonists invariably swallow on a daily basis.
The plot unfolds along sword edges and shield tips. The physical elements of combat become a highly effective method for transitioning from one point of view to the next. That one character, that you just happened to have formed a liking for in the last chapter, well, he now has a sword deeply embedded in his head. Queue point of view switch to the villain now holding the sword, who it turns out isn’t that bad of a guy after all. He was just trying to save his friend!
The banality of war plays a prominent role in Mr. Abercrombie’s narrative, exposing the political machinations that lead to ‘inevitable’ conflicts that can and should have been avoided. The most absurd part of the whole novel is that only a handful of people actually know why they are fighting and what they are fighting for. A metaphor for the current geopolitical reality? I will let you decide.
With enough bleakness to serve a tavern full of hungry soldiers The Heroes also has a number of high and excruciatingly violent moments. Combat after all, is not neat and tidy, and Abercrombie loves to drive this point home, again and again.
Taken in its entirety, The Heroes is a marvelous novel that demonstrates Mr. Abercrombie’s commitment to gritty fantasy, as well as his ability to keep it fresh and imaginative for his readers. A significant helping of talent and a diligent focus on the writing has made The Heroes Abercrombie’s best book yet, and one definitely not to be missed.
My only small complaint was the total absence of The Bloody Nine. We heard his name, we saw line upon line of Northmen run from its very mention, but we did not see our beloved Nine. Is he dead? Will he surface in Abercrombie’s next book? I sure as hell hope so!
03 February, 2011
In Darujhistan, the city of blue fire, it is said that love and death shall arrive dancing. It is summer and the heat is oppressive, but for the small round man in the faded red waistcoat, discomfiture is not just because of the sun. All is not well. Dire portents plague his nights and haunt the city streets like fiends of shadow. Assassins skulk in alleyways, but the quarry has turned and the hunters become the hunted. Hidden hands pluck the strings of tyranny like a fell chorus. While the bards sing their tragic tales, somewhere in the distance can be heard the baying of Hounds...And in the distant city of Black Coral, where rules Anomander Rake, Son of Darkness, ancient crimes awaken, intent on revenge. It seems Love and Death are indeed about to arrive...hand in hand, dancing. A thrilling, harrowing novel of war, intrigue and dark, uncontrollable magic, Toll the Hounds is the new chapter in Erikson's monumental series - epic fantasy at its most imaginative and storytelling at its most exciting.In Toll the Hounds (2008) [US] [UK], which by the way is a brilliant title, Erikson departs from his usual formula by having Kruppe narrate. Yes, Kruppe, the man who has a way with words, many many words.
Does that mean this is a bad book? Definitely not. It's typical Erikson style, dark humor, lots of action, and an ending that is both tragic and exhilarating.
Toll the Hounds brings back a lot of characters that we haven't seen in a while (many not since Memories of Ice), such as the aforementioned Kruppe, but also Anomander Rake and his crew, and some ex-Malazan marines who happen to have retired in Darujhistan.
4 out of 5 Stars
02 February, 2011
And then you have bloggers who aren't part of the publishing game, some by choice, others not. Other still have abandoned blogging altogether or are deliberately separating themselves from a "game" as possessing undue influence.
I for one, and maybe I'm the only one, think that a blogger who's been inducted into the publishing game is that much more credible. Obviously they've done something so well that even publishers have taken notice.
In addition, I'm an avid fan of reading - yes, I'll admit it. :) Now that us bloggers have some people on the inside, don't be shy. Tell us about it. Let us know what your up to, and don't hold back. If in the past you've shown independence and impartiality and well, credibility, then we can still trust you to give us your opinion. It's okay.
So, what I'm saying here is - You're awesome! You can be awesome and keep blogging. I talked to the credibility police and they said it's fine.
What do you think? Am I completely wrong here? Do you think people will stop visiting a blog because they feel it is or will become overly biased because the blogger is now working in the publishing "game"? Whether people believe they'll be biased or not, do you think they'll be biased anyway?