Russell Crowe would totally
play Al in a movie, right?
Some months back Strange Horizons held a fundraising drive to keep their doors open for 2011. I made a small contribution which, to my surprise, entered me into a raffle for a boatload of prizes donated by authors, publishers, and artists. I was even more surprised when I won my choice of these prizes. One of those choices was a piece of original art by science fiction author Alastair Reynolds.
Wait, did I just say art? Indeed, who knew? Alastair Reynolds can paint! I have plenty of books laying about the house, but an original piece of art? Sign me up! Couple days later Reynolds e-mailed me, asking me what I wanted. Like any good non-artist I said, “I dunno dude, whatever looks cool to you!” I did mention that I was a fan of a piece I saw on his blog called Chinese Mining Spacecraft
… Read the rest
I love Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read everything he’s written for the adult market, from his first novel Elantris to his printing press busting The Way of Kings. His finest work to date is the Mistborn trilogy which contains one of the best beginnings and endings ever done in fantasy. So, it is with great remorse that I must say his most recent Mistborn universe release, The Alloy of Law, isn’t very good, or rather it’s not nearly as good as everything else Sanderson has written.
Set some 300 years (about?) after the events of The Hero of Ages, Waxillum is a lawkeeper from the Roughs who happens to be a member of one of the richest families in Elendel. When his Uncle dies in an accident, Wax is called home to administer the family fortune (or what’s left of it). Of course some trouble has followed him from the Roughs and he’ll have to stop it with the help of his snarky partner, Wayne. … Read the rest
Hey everyone, Happy Thanksgiving! If you don’t live in the States, umm… happy late November! I’m posting this on Wednesday because I’m not going to be anywhere near a computer tomorrow. Instead, I’ll be stuffing my face and watching football.
So, the year is almost over and that means it’s time for the ‘Best of 2011′ lists to start trickling out. We’ve already seen some of the major review groups (Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, etc.) put out their lists, and the Goodreads fan vote is ongoing. This year I’m planning on doing a series of awards. I’m going to call them the Juice Boxes. See if you can keep up here… so there are the Hugos. My name is Justin. Put those two words together and you get Jugos. Jugo in Spanish means Juice. The Juice Awards sounds like something O.J. Simpson would bestow on someone, so I added the box. After all, who doesn’t like Juice Boxes?… Read the rest
|U.S. Cover and Title
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before, ok? Joe Abercrombie walks into a bar, sits down and orders a whiskey. He takes a shot and looks down the bar where he sees fellow fantasy author Brandon Sanderson sitting at a table. Sanderson is laying out a Magic: The Gathering deck and drinking a glass of milk. Abercrombie, seeing his comrade in arms, stands up and walks over. They get to talking about this and that, of course Abercrombie tries his best not to swear or talk about sex, an admittedly difficult bit of conversationlism.
Before you know it, the two of them start writing. Sanderson is handling the outline, plotting things just so and building the world. Meanwhile Abercrombie is writing the scenes, adding his grit and authentic dialogue to Sanderson’s framework. He decides to try first person this time, change is a good thing, right? … Read the rest
Last week I reviewed Shadow’s Lure, the second installment in Jon Sprunk’s Shadow Saga series from Pyr. After finishing Lure I asked Sprunk to answer some questions for me, which he was kind enough to do. He’s also currently moving into a new house, so I’m even more appreciative that he found time to do this during that awful process (wish him luck!).
Also, Pyr has contributed a copy of both Shadow’s Lure and Shadow’s Son that I’m giving away this week (click here). Here’s the blurb from Shadow’s Son, Sprunk’s debut novel and first installment in the Shadow Saga:
In the holy city of Othir, treachery and corruption lurk at the end of every street, just the place for a freelance assassin with no loyalties and few scruples.
Caim makes his living on the edge of a blade, but when a routine job goes south, he is thrust into the middle of an insidious plot.… Read the rest
Looks like cyberpunk,
I’m not sure The Restoration Game is science fiction. Sure, it’s technically based on a speculative what-if, but does that make something a science fiction novel? Science fiction, I believe, is all about a discussion on humanity’s relationship to technology. I feel a lot more comfortable thinking of it as a Dickian (Philip K.) novel that grapples with issues of human perception more than one looking at our relationship to technology. Or maybe it’s just a thriller.
Other than a prologue and an epilogue, the events in Ken MacLeod’s most recent novel take place in 2008, leading up to the South Ossetia War (or at least a fictional simulacrum there of). The narrative is recounted by Lucy Stone, an Edinburgh expat from the former Soviet controlled Krassnia. In that troubled region of the former Soviet Union, revolution is brewing. Its organizers need a safe place to meet, and where better than the virtual spaces of an online game?
… Read the rest
Today is Veterans Day here in the United States. It’s also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world in memory of the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. Regardless of which country you’re from, today is a sacred day where we recognize the sacrifice men and women in the armed forces, and their families, make to keep us safe. So from me, to all of you, thank you. Seriously.
To commemorate the day, I thought I’d put together a list of five of the best Science Fiction & Fantasy reads that give us an insight into what our soldiers go through. Sure, you’d be better off reading All Quiet on the Western Front or Dispatches, but we like our SFF, right? Without further ado:
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Where most war novels are about the conflict, or the individual, Abercrombie’s latest novel is about the ties that bind the men and women together on the front lines. … Read the rest
Earlier this year I reviewed Jon Sprunk’s 2010 debut novel, Shadow’s Son. While I very much enjoyed it, my review was less than glowing. I felt some things were sacrificed to the novel’s breakneck pace and that Caim, Spunk’s protagonist, was a little too one-dimensional. In a not so stunning development, Shadow’s Lure corrects many of these deficiencies and in so doing demonstrates tremendous growth in Sprunk’s craft.
Without spoiling too much of what went on in the first novel, Lure picks up right where Son left off. Caim (what?! the main character survives? no way!) leaves his home in Othir behind, heading north to discover the truth behind the murder of his parents and his power over the shadow. He leaves Josey behind, now Empress of the Nimean Empire, to consolidate her power.
The nature of the two stories, which could be read completely separate from one another, blunt the pace that was such a hallmark of Sprunk’s debut. … Read the rest
I reviewed Rob Ziegler’s debut novel Seed a few weeks back (here). It’s a tremendous debut that’s very much in the tradition of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl. It was released yesterday in hardcover from Night Shade Books and is available in eBook. It also bears one of the most visually stimulating covers in recent memory. I highly recommend it.
Here’s the blurb:
It’s the dawn of the 22nd century, and the world has fallen apart. Decades of war and resource depletion have toppled governments. The ecosystem has collapsed. A new dust bowl sweeps the American West. The United States has become a nation of migrants—starving masses of nomads roaming across wastelands and encamped outside government seed distribution warehouses.
In this new world, there is a new power: Satori. More than just a corporation, Satori is an intelligent, living city risen from the ruins of the heartland. She manufactures climate-resistant seed to feed humanity, and bio-engineers her own perfected castes of post-humans Designers, Advocates and Laborers.… Read the rest