22 December, 2010

It's News To Me #38

Hope you're holiday season's going great. I have a short one this week, but in January, I'll be back in action with reviews and updates aplenty.


On behalf of Tor.com, Tor Books, Microsoft/343 Industries, and Halo Waypoint, I’m excited to present two exclusive chapter excerpts of HALO: Cryptum, the hugely anticipated first novel in a trilogy by Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction legend Greg Bear in the New York Times bestselling “Halo®” series. Chapter one will go live on Tor.com at *1 PM eastern today* while chapter two will simultaneously be available at halowaypoint.com, the official Halovideogames franchise web site. HALO: Cryptum will be available nationwide on January 4, 2011.

HALO: Cryptum takes place 100,000 years before the events of the Halo games and serves as a great entry point into what has become one of the most successful science fiction franchises of all time. These two exclusive excerpts will be the first place to begin this deep exploration into the time of the Forerunners, the creators and builders of the Halos. Almost nothing has been revealed about this ancient race. This new series will delve deep into the reign of these enigmatic beings, and tell the epic story behind one of the great mysteries of the “Halo”universe: the complete disappearance of the Forerunners from existence, while also revealing an amazing tale of human origins.

An icon in the science fiction community, Greg Bear has penned such critically celebrated international bestsellers as Eon and The Forge of God. His recent novel Hull Zero Three was published in November by Orbit Books and met widespread acclaim. Bear’s talent for taut narratives, intellectually rigorous themes, and realistic, appealing characters make him the most qualified author writing today to begin a new chapter in this blockbuster franchise.

Greg Bear will also be appearing with special guests from 343 Industries at University Books in Seattle for an exclusive signing and launch event on January 4th, 2010 at 7 PM.

Here's the first chapter for a preview.


And that's the news...at least to me.

19 December, 2010

The 20 SF/F Book Giveaway


Every year in an effort to reduce some of the strain on my poor shelves, I hold a large giveaway of some of the notable lit of that year, with a few random surprises thrown in. Might there be a Towers of Midnight signed by all of Team Joran, Leigh and Mr. Doherty himself? At the very least, I can guarantee a Tai'Shar Malkier sticker.
Giveaway Rules

Want just under two dozen books for free? Done. Just follow these simple giveaway instructions for your chance to win (giveaway runs till 1/10/10 @ 11:59 PM EST):

1) E-mail me [bloggeratf@gmail.com] your name and address, with 20 BOOKS, as the subject. Snarky comments increase your chances of winning and the snarkiest comment of the week gets free entries for future giveaways.
2) Sign up for site updates either in RSS or with Friend Connect on the side. This will also let you know about future giveaways!
3) Think happy thoughts.
4) (OPTIONAL) Share or link to any post on the blog--this earns you brownie points as well as increasing your (if you have made it this far) already significant odds.
5) There is no rule number five. I just like odd numbers.

17 December, 2010

CANCELLED: Stargate Universe (SGU)

I give up. By force of repeated cancellation of the few SyFy shows I enjoy watching, I now despair that any series I like on television will survive for more than two seasons.

Stargate Universe had everything going for it. A great cast, some awesome writers and consultants (Scalzi), some amazing CGI and a plot that was finally going somewhere. But no, now it is going nowhere. The cancellation of SGU is a real blow for every fan!

SGU Stargate Universe Cancelled
Stargate Univese (SGU) Cancelled

15 December, 2010

It's News To Me #37

I'll try really hard to keep some posts going through the holidays, but I'm making no promises. Once finals are over I'm headed home to California immediately and nice weather will ensue. :)

Cover Art

Lots of good stuff came out the other day:

This one just looks awesome, I'm glad it's gotten a bit of a face lift from the last. And a blurb:
Summer is the season of war in the Free Cities. Marcus wants to get out before the fighting starts. His hero days are behind him and simple caravan duty is better than getting pressed into service by the local gentry. Even a small war can get you killed. But a captain needs men to lead — and his have been summarily arrested and recruited for their swords.

Cithrin has a job to do — move the wealth of a nation across a war zone. An orphan raised by the bank, she is their last hope of keeping the bank’s wealth out of the hands of the invaders. But she’s just a girl and knows little of caravans, war, and danger. She knows money and she knows secrets, but will that be enough to save her in the coming months?

Geder, the only son of a noble house is more interested in philosophy than swordplay. He is a poor excuse for a soldier and little more than a pawn in these games of war. But not even he knows what he will become of the fires of battle. Hero or villain? Small men have achieved greater things and Geder is no small man.

Falling pebbles can start a landslide. What should have been a small summer spat between gentlemen is spiraling out of control. Dark forces are at work, fanning the flames that will sweep the entire region onto The Dragon’s Path — the path of war.

Then here's the next volume following the great debut, Shadow's Son. This artwork is done by Michael Komarck again for the US edition, and below you'll find Chris McGrath's work on the UK edition:

I'm torn as to which I like better. I think I had this same problem with Shadow's Son.


Lots of bloggers are getting gigs with Tor lately and I have to say I'm a bit jealous. :D

Fantasy - Aidan Moher (A Dribble of Ink)

Steampunk - Ay-Leen the Peacemaker (Beyond Victoriana)

Science Fiction - Mark Chitty (Walker of Worlds)

From Orbit, N.K. Jemisin's news two book series has been acquired and tentatively titled Reaper and Conqueror.
In the city-state of Gujaareh, peace is the only law. Along its ancient stone streets, where time is marked by the river’s floods, there is no crime or violence. Within the city’s colored shadows, priests of the dream-goddess harvest the wild power of the sleeping mind as magic, using it to heal, soothe… and kill.


A new interview with Alistair Reynolds is at First Tuesday Book Club.

Un:Bound Video Edition is up and running and I have to say I'm impressed:

And in movies, here's the newest Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides (the title coming from Tim Powers' novel, which should be arriving at my doorstep any day now). Loved every one, so I don't think this will disappoint:

And that's the news...at least to me.

13 December, 2010

When science fiction becomes reality!

Military science fiction being one of my favorite niches, I am always fascinated by DARPA and all of their ingenious new ideas for weapons. The little guy below, a prototype rail-gun, brings us one step closer to the technology that permeates military sci-fi.

It is clear that the author of the rail-gun article clearly had a good time writing it. Enjoy:
Not only would a 64 MJ railgun permit a warship to pound targets far away below the horizon with unstoppable Mach 5 hypersonic hammerblows, lesser hypersonic cannon might also sweep the skies of pesky, merely-supersonic aircraft and missiles.

09 December, 2010

Review - Supernatural: The Unholy Cause by Joe Schreiber

I accepted this book a while back pretty much on a whim. I thought, Joe Schreiber seems to be a popular enough author and this might be interesting to check out him writing a tie-in novel.

The only problem is that I've never seen the show nor read a book in this series. But, while this is actually Supernatural book 5, I only missed a few references here and there and otherwise this was pretty stand-alone.

The cover itself probably should have turned me away from Supernatural: The Unholy Cause [US] [UK], but I'm glad I didn't stop there. As you can probably tell, I'm not a die hard fan of the series, I only just found out about it through the publishers, Titan books, but even with my limited knowledge, I was able to enjoy this book.

Because this is a tie-in novel for the show on The CW, I thought I'd do this review in the form of the only other show I've seen (due to my wife) on The CW... 90210.

"(Scene: The 90210ers are at school when the new kid shows up. He wants to fit in but doesn't quite know what to say and just happened to have read Supernatural: The Unholy Cause the night before.)

New kid (blurting out the first thing on his mind): So, have you ever heard of this Supernatural thing, it's kind of like the Dresden Files except the main people are much prettier...

Annie: Oh...um...I think I've like heard of the TV show like... Never heard of these Bresnan Files, is it like the X-Files?

Dixon: Yeah dude, that's like my favorite show and like I watch it all the time. It's about demons and ghosts and like all kinds of creepy cool stuff.

Naomi (the mean one): It's like the worst ever and you guys are all like dumb. Why would you like ever watch such trash?

New kid: Well, I technically didn't watch anything, I read the book by Joe Schreiber...um...like.

Annie, Dixon, Naomi (uncomprehending): A book? Sick... (all turn and walk away)"

You can now also tell that I don't know anything about 90210 either. :D

Like the "New kid" said, Supernatural: The Unholy Cause was a decent read that reminded me a lot of the Dresden Files, but with the pretty boys not getting beat up nearly as bad. It's fun and fast Urban Fantasy with religious themes of devils and angels and exorcisms running throughout.

I hadn't watched the show until after I read the book (not bad) or read a Supernatural book and I was able to keep up fine even though this is also technically book 5 in the series of tie-ins.

Recommended if you need something in between seasons or to hold you over until the next Dresden Files book comes out.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

08 December, 2010

It's News To Me #36

Finals are here and blogging has become difficult, hence these sorry excuses for a weekly wrap-up. I promise, once I'm done with law school I'll have plenty more excuses for slacking.

Cover Art

Not as big of a fan of the cover for Pyr's US edition of The Scarab Path (Shadows of the Apt 5) [US] [UK] as the earlier volumes, but at least I hear the book's pretty good. :)


Adventures in Reading has The Top Ten SF Novels of the Last Decade, Written by Women (and which I have read).


This is a beautiful thing (HBO's Game of Thrones):

And that's the news...at least to me.

07 December, 2010

Giveaway: The Lost Gate, by Orson Scott Card

The Lost Gate [US ][UK] is a delightful tale filled with the trademark characterization and themes Mr. Card is known for. My full review will be up next week, but in way of a brief description, the novel can be summed up as Potter for adults, with a magic system that isn't plain silly. Failure to add this book to your reading pile for political/ideological reasons would be a real shame.

The blurb:
Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an outself.
He grew up in the rambling old house, filled with dozens of cousins, and aunts and uncles, all ruled by his father. Their home was isolated in the mountains of western Virginia, far from town, far from schools, far from other people.
There are many secrets in the House, and many rules that Danny must follow. There is a secret library with only a few dozen books, and none of them in English — but Danny and his cousins are expected to become fluent in the language of the books. While Danny’s cousins are free to create magic whenever they like, they must never do it where outsiders might see.
Giveaway Rules

If you are interested in getting your hands on The Lost Gate, then follow the exceedingly simple instructions below. Giveaway runs until 12/31/10 @ 11:59 PM EST.

E-mail me your name and address at bloggeratf@[removethis]gmail.com, with "GATEMAGE" as the subject of the email. Snarky comments increase your chances of winning and win bonus entries for future giveaways. Open worldwide as long as delivery doesn't require the mounting of an expedition into remote wilderness.

05 December, 2010

Review: State of Decay, by James Knapp

State of Decay [US][UK], by James Knapp is the first installment in a near-future dystopian zombie trilogy aptly named Revivors. Darkly compelling and deviously plotted, State of decay is a mind bending zombie adventure that will please noir crime/thriller and genre fans alike.

My experience with zombie lit is sadly limited. My most notable (and only) foray into the genre was with Max Brooks in World War Z - the opus of zombie literature. All this to say that State of Decay is not your typical smash and bash zombie survival adventure. It aspires to, and achieves more than that. Dark and dystopian, the zombie aspect of the novel is secondary to the human controversy.

State of Decay takes place in an authoritarian future in which it seems that everyone is at war with, well, everyone. Technology, ever the friend of the military, is used to reanimate the dead and send them right back to the front line. Society is highly hierarchical; greater rights and privileges are accorded to those who 'donate' their bodies after death to become "revivors".

The novel is fairly unique in that it takes time to explore some of the murkier waters of the zombie sub-genre. Since becoming a revivor is generally a voluntary process, one in which you retain your memories and identity, the morality of act and its attendant consequences are given a front row seat. The first test-case that readers encounter is that of a black market female revivor sex slave, revived against her will. I wasn't kidding when I said the novel was dark...

Meet the four protagonists: the badass ex-military hero turned FBI superstar; the driven yet tormented cop; the gritty and down on her luck boxer with a personality that resembles a shot of whisky; and the young and frail junky who is more than she seems. All in all a well rounded cast of characters that keep the plot rolling along at a respectable clip.

The major plot arc, which I will not spoiler, is essentially the intersection of hero FBI agent's investigation and the tormented cop's case. Did I mention they have a romantic history? Of further uniqueness in the novel is the intersection of the zombie sub-genre and the psychic sub-genre, if it can even be termed such. The contrast between the purely scientific revivor and the more ephemeral powers of the psychic makes for some dazzling plot twists that are sure to surprise.

As the James Knapp has mentioned, the trilogy is divided into three distinct parts, which fits with my reading of the first book:
The book, and the trilogy as a whole, is what I intended it to be and I don’t think I could ask for anything more. Putting all the world-building and character development aside, it’s a three part tale: The first book uncovers an unpleasant truth, the second is about choosing sides, and the third is about fighting for what you believe in. I’m satisfied with the symmetry of it, I like where my characters ended up, and I feel now that the story has been told.
I enjoyed the fact that Mr. Knapp made the zombie theme his own and chose to make fun of some of the genres preconceptions. Insatiable thirst for human flesh? There's a chip for that - upgrade you zombie today! Well, the fun was a bit more subtle than that, but you get the idea.

State of Decay is recommended for the zombie naive, the noir obsessed, and the genre fan generally. It isn't a perfect book, but it was perfectly enjoyable - take the jump for a concisely precise review of State of Decay that is decidedly more balanced than mine. I am anxious to dig into The Silent Army [US][UK] and see what the fates have in store for our unlikely heroes.

03 December, 2010

New Durzo novella and Two New Novels from Brandon Sanderson

These bits of news were way too big to contain to the weekly It's News To Me and thus they're coming to you today.

Brent Weeks has announced on Twitter that there's a new novella involving Durzo Blint. I loved the Night Angel Trilogy so this is wonderful news (thanks Mad Hatter):
You ever wonder how Durzo became Durzo? Well, I just turned in a Durzo Blint novella that tells.
And in Sanderson news:

Tor announces acquisitions of two new novels by #1 New York Times bestselling fantasy author Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson to publish new Mistborn novel in late 2011
followed by The Rithmatist in 2012

New York, NY: Wednesday, December 1 2010

Tor Books is proud to announce the acquisition of two new novels by acclaimed fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, whose recent book Towers of Midnight, Book Thirteen in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time®, recently debuted at #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and ABA National Indiebound bestseller lists. Sanderson is also the author of New York Times bestselling novels The Way of Kings, The Gathering Storm, The Mistborn Trilogy, Warbreaker, Elantris, and the middle grade “Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians” series. He is currently working on A Memory of Light, the 14th and final volume in The Wheel of Time, and planning a sequel to The Way of Kings.

Sanderson’s first new project will be an original, standalone short novel set in the universe of his Mistborn trilogy (Mistborn, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages). Sanderson previously announced plans for a sequel trilogy set in the far future of that world, and the new novel, entitled Mistborn: The Alloy of Law, is set during a frontier era where “allomancy” meets gunplay. The Alloy of Law will be published in late 2011.

Sanderson’s second project, titled The Rithmatist, was first drafted in 2007 and perfected this year. Set in an alternate-history America where magic users (called “Rithmatists”) battle wild chalk creatures, The Rithmatist introduces Joel, a student at the Rithmatist academy with great interest in but no ability to use the magic. But when students start vanishing, it’s up to him to expose the sinister figure behind the disappearances. The Rithmatist will be published in 2012 after the publication of A Memory of Light.

This year and next will also see major publications in the Wheel of Time franchise, including the graphic novel adaptations of New Spring (January 2011) and The Eye of the World: Volume 1 (September 2011) before the landmark publication of A Memory of Light, the final volume in the series. The third annual JordanCon will take place April 15–17 2011 in Atlanta, GA. Pre-registration is currently ongoing at www.ageoflegends.net.

Fore more information visit www.brandonsanderson.com.

01 December, 2010

It's News To Me #35

It's that time again, finals start next week and I make no promises as to how many reviews I'll get out nor how many links will be included in the news segment. Because all of my classes are depending 100% on my final exams, I get a bit stressed at this time of year/semester. Just ask my wife, or better yet don't. :)

Cover Art

Covers like these make me want to read a book (Swanland is my hero):

Surrender to the Will of the Night (Instrumentalities of the Night Book 3) by Glen Cook [US] [UK]

Elfsorrow (Legends of the Raven Book 1) by James Barclay [US] [UK]


Brian Ruckley "Answers 8 Rad Questions" that aren't rad and can barely be considered questions. But he's a writer I guess, and of fantasy, so he's good at making things up. :D

The Nook Color is reviewed at Genre Reader. I probably won't get a reader for a while, but Jeff does a great job laying it down with his eReader reviews.

Sarah asks what was your "Gateway Drug" into Speculative Fiction - meaning that book that got you loving the genre, which you'll always love, but which in reality probably isn't the best book ever put to paper.

There's an exclusive excerpt of Orson Scott Card's new book (first in a trilogy), The Lost Gate. (thanks Yagiz).

I've been keeping up on Patrick Rothfuss's Worldbuilders project through donated, signed books and I think it's a great way to make this world a better place. If you have even a little to give, this is a great way to go.

On that note, Pat (Hotlist) is donating all proceeds from his links to Breast Cancer Research. You don't even have to do anything but buy your gifts through these links and you can help.

Oh, and he's not done...and others have things to say about that.


I'm obsessed with Game of Thrones on HBO, I'm sure you can't tell, so here's a teaser trailer and if you follow this link, there are 9 other short clips to get you excited:

And that's the news...at least to me.