[This article contains baseball references, but knowledge of the game is not required to enjoy it. I wrote it last year and sat on it for months, trying to make it more sensible. I don't think I succeeded. Screw it, it's my blog I'll ramble if I want to. I guess with last Friday's article I'm startig a bit of a series about 'State of Genre Fiction' or something like that... whatever. Enjoy, I hope.]
The Science Fiction and Fantasy publishing world is a lot like professional baseball. I first started reading seriously as an 11 year old middle school student. Somewhere along the way I picked up Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and recognized the little flame on the bottom of each book and three little letters beneath it… T – O – R. It didn’t take me long to realize that Tor Books are the New York Yankees of SFF. … Read the rest
Contrary to the article that graced this blog last week, I have been known to choose a book to read (or not read) based on genre. Usually I do it to avoid things I know I won’t like, as opposed to trending toward things I know I will. For example, I hate paranormal romance and dislike most urban fantasies (because they masquerade as paranormal romance). Over the weekend, I made a choice to read an Urban Fantasy book specifically because I realized I should practice what I preach. With that in mind I read Jennifer Safrey’s novel Tooth and Nail, from Night Shade Books.
Gemma Cross’s boyfriend is running for congress. She used to be a professional pollster, but now she’s retired to support her boyfriend’s ambition. To keep herself busy she’s rededicated herself to boxing, a childhood love and lifetime hobby. Her life is perfect, until a magnetic young woman shows up at her gym offering her the job of a lifetime.
… Read the rest
At Epic Confusion last weekend, I sat in on a panel about genre-blending. It was moderated by Myke Cole, but included authors Bradley Beaulieu, Scott Lynch, Saladin Ahmed, and Cindy Spencer Pape. Cole, after a little talk about how each of the panelists’ novels were genre blending in some way, posed the question — what significance, if any, does genre have to a writer/publisher outside marketing? The panel mostly agreed that it had none — nor should it. That got me thinking. Value or not, genre and marketability have a tremendous amount to do with which novels editors buy, and even more with how they’re presented to the marketplace.
On an earlier panel, author Kameron Hurley (God’s War, Infidel, and the forthcoming Rapture) commented that several large publishing houses passed on her novel because they just didn’t know how to market it. … Read the rest
I was a big fan of Bradley Beaulieu’s debut novel The Winds of Khalakovo. It’s an incredibly nuanced epic fantasy set in a Cyrillic-esque second world (full review). When I found out that Beaulieu was trying his hand at a science fiction novella, I was intrigued. My curiosity was further piqued when I discovered he was working with Stephen Gaskell, as the merging of styles always interests me.
In the twenty-second century, Earth’s oil and gas reserves have been spent. Vast solar mining platforms circle the upper atmosphere of the sun, drawing power lines up from the interior to be sent back to Earth. For the platforms’ teeming masses, life is hard. Most dream of a return Earthside, but a two-way ticket wasn’t part of deal.
Set against the backdrop of this dystopian reality, Strata begins with a race. Skimmers jockey for position along the sun’s convection zone, dodging the plasma plumes that shoot into space. … Read the rest
Some have said that The Desert Spear has all the same components (good and bad) from The Warded Man, only more. I think that’s an apt description. In the second installment of the Demon Cycle, Peter V. Brett expands the scope of his story, spending more time on his pseudo Islamic/Samurai culture (Krasnians) and offering the demon’s point of view for the first time. He brings new characters into the fold and expands the reader’s understanding of his magic system and world. Despite some persistent problems that return from the first novel, Desert Spear is a delightful read that calls to mind the great epic fantasies of years gone by.
The novel begins through the point of view of Jardir, the Krasnian leader so vilified in Warded Man. Structured much like the first novel, Brett jumps through different points in time to tell the story of Jardir’s childhood and rise to power without losing track of his holy war of unification against the north. … Read the rest
Last weekend was somewhat surreal. I’m not much of a fan boy, but I love books, and story telling, and intellectual masturbation. And ConFusion was the embodiment of those three things. I had personal conversations with a number of authors, met some of my fellow bloggers, and learned a lot listening to panels. I drank beer, watched in awe as some women (and men dressed as women) walked around nearly naked (who maybe should have reconsidered), and felt a tiny bit out of my element. What follows is a small sample of my crazy experiences. Enjoy.
- I had the opportunity to observe some of the biggest name authors in the business play a game of AD&D. An homage to the game of old, they played 1st Edition rules with the The Keep on the Borderlands module. Debut novelists Saladin Ahmed and Myke Cole DM’ed the game providing dynamic arrow thunks and armor pings throughout the game.
… Read the rest
was my first exposure to Will McIntosh. And it was very rewarding. Somehow I missed his debut novel, Soft Apocalypse
, last year. And I’m terrible about keeping up on short fiction, so his 2009 Hugo Award winning short story, Bridesicles
is largely unknown to me. Turns out it was just recently optioned for a feature film. He’s also signed a book deal with Orbit to write a novel based on it. In any case, given how much I enjoyed Hitchers
, and rumors have McIntosh in possession of a completed baseball themed fantasy manuscript, I felt compelled to chat with him.
I thought it was pretty interesting — I hope you agree! Hitchers
is available for sale tomorrow in hardcover
and in eFormat February 1.
Justin: I haven’t read Soft Apocalypse. I read almost all of Night Shade’s 2011 debuts, but missed yours for some reason. It’s why I made such a point of reading Hitchers right away. … Read the rest
Not a picture of my
own Fire. I swear.
You are… my fire! The one desire! Believe when I say, I want it that way! When I unwrapped my Kindle Fire on Christmas, that iconic Backstreet Boys song popped into my head. I wondered if the device would live up to those words… would the Fire be ‘nothin’ but a heartache’? The answer is no. The Fire is not a heartache or a mistake. Let me tell you why.
On first look, the Fire looks small and feels heavier than its looks belie, an electronic fruit cake if you will. I thought the extra weight would be annoying, but like a nice pen, the weight gives it a sense of biblio-tangibility (made-up word!) that I often missed with my original Kindle. Turn the device on (fully charged, by the way), and you’ll be instantly greeted with vibrant colors and screen resolution that compares favorably to the iPad. … Read the rest
|GoH, Patrick Rothfuss
On Friday, I’m hopping a flight to Detroit, Michigan. Why you ask? I’ll be attending Epic Confusion, an annual science fiction and fantasy convention held just outside Motor City. Programming starts Friday evening and goes through to about 3 PM on Sunday. The program covers all kinds of topics, but mainly SF literature, movies and TV. Patrick Rothfuss is the Guest of Honor and Jim C. Hines is the Toastmaster, isn’t that nice?
It also turns out that Joe Abercrombie, Peter Brett, Brent Weeks, and Robin Hobb are attending as guests of Subterranean Press. You can see why I’m getting a little excited about the event. I fear sounding like Vince from Slapchop, but wait… there’s more. Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, John Scalzi, Saladin Ahmed, Douglas Hulick, Myke Cole, Bradley Beaulieu, Kameron Hurley, Howard Andrew Jones, and, a bunch of authors I don’t really know much about, are also attending.… Read the rest
I admit, prior to reading The Troupe, I had no idea what vaudeville was all about. I had an idea in my head, based on implied fuzzy cultural memory, but it’s not something I’d ever taken a moment to actually look into. According to the arbiter of truthiness, Wikipedia, vaudeville is:
…a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts included popular and classical musicians, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, female and male impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels, and movies.
Having read The Night Circus and paged through Mechanique, two circus themed novels from 2011, I classified Bennett’s novel in my mind as another entrant in this newly popularized subgenre. … Read the rest