Scott Lynch’s debut novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora, has become something of an icon in the modern fantasy lexicon.… Read the rest
Monthly Archives: March 2012
The jacket copy of The Return Man by V.M. Zito doesn’t mention zombies. The closest it gets is “he tracks down the dead and delivers peace.” That could mean it’s about a guy who finds lost people, confirms their death (or not), and gives the family peace. It could mean that, but it doesn’t. It means the novel is all about killing zombies. All the expected themes, tropes, and tones (the three T’s if you will) that description calls to mind are likewise present. In that, Zito’s debut novel is a competent piece of zombie fiction. Unfortunately, that’s all it is.
Set after an outbreak of zombie-itis, Return Man tells the story of Henry Marco. Marco lives in the Evacuated States, or those states west of the Mississippi which have become a ravaged wilderness that the Safe States are trying to forget. It’s there that he makes his living tracking down shambling corpses as a contract exterminator for grieving families back east.… Read the rest
When the Arthur C. Clarke Award released its shortlist yesterday, it result in the standard push back on how the judges got it wrong. The largest objections seemed to come from those who believed By Light Alone by Adam Roberts and The Islanders by Christopher Priest should have made the list, generally in place of The End Specialist by Drew Magary and The Water’s Rising by Sheri S. Tepper. I can’t really comment since the only novel I’ve actually read on the short list is The End Specialist and the two suggested replacements haven’t been released in the U.S. yet (at least I don’t think they have).
Anytime a shortlist comes out, that someone might impugn, the first question should always be, what was submitted? Thankfully the Clarkes came prepared with a list. Looking at the list I see several novels I would happily swap with Magary’s and one major oversight (one every award committee seems to be making in my estimation) in T.C.… Read the rest
Stefan Raets, owner and operator of the excellent blog Far Beyond Reality, joined me here on my blog a few weeks ago to talk about the Hugo Award (here). I decided to reciprocate and wrote a post for his blog today. Stefan has a regular feature called ‘Fifty Page Friday’ where he gives a book he would normally not read fifty pages to win him over. At which point he writes it up. I took a stab at my own ‘Fifty Page Friday’ with Chrysanthe by Yves Meynard, a new fantasy from Tor.
I also joined Stefan Fergus at Civilian Reader today to talk about why zombies have a biological imperative to eat brains. While authors Myke Cole and Sam Sykes weigh in on the subject as well, I find my account to be the most compelling and hilarious. But, who am I to judge?
This is a new feature I’m going to try out here on the blog. My goal is to recommend books for fans of a larger book franchise. For example, if you liked The Wheel of Time, you might also really like Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga. Easy enough, right? Except I’m going to try to be less obvious than that. There are gads of tremendous books out there in the ethos that are largely ignored because they aren’t sexy anymore. Either they’re not new enough, or they never quite caught on, or it took too long for book two to show up and everyone forgot about it, or the author is a real asshole, or the publisher is an asshole and didn’t put resources behind it, or the agent is an asshole and won’t give up the eBook rights, or this blogger is an asshole and never reviewed it. Not to belabor the point (too late), but the main character might be an asshole.… Read the rest
Robert J. Sawyer is one of those names that float through the genre world that everyone presumes everyone else has read. Especially since his starring role on the hit television show Lost – he’s really good looking isn’t he? Regardless, I was ashamed to admit that I’d never read Sawyer, who isn’t quite genre and isn’t quite mainstream, falling instead into an odd gully occupied by the likes of Michael Crichton, Margaret Atwood, and Peter F. Hamilton (that’s a joke). Triggers, his newest novel set in a very near future United States, broke that pattern of behavior for me, but didn’t entirely convince me of his status as an industry icon.
In Sawyer’s vision of the future, terrorism and fear have overtaken America. Bombs in Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia have been detonated to catastrophic result. President Seth Jerrison has had enough. On the day before an unprecedented strike against the Middle East, an assassin’s bullet strikes him during an address to the nation at the Lincoln Memorial.… Read the rest
The cover illustration for Courtney Schafer’s forthcoming novel The Tainted City was released today (above). The new novel is the sequel to her well received first novel, The Whitefire Crossing, which I reviewed and recommended last year. First off, I’m glad to see the artistic style continued from the first novel (i.e. – artist David Palumbo). Night Shade has done some monkeying with covers between books in a series in an effort to jump start sales/interest and that always bugs me. For example:
Earlier this week I reviewed Anne Lyle’s debut novel Alchemist of Souls. It’s an excellent piece of historical fiction that she blends with fantasy elements to create something wholly unique. A lover of historical fiction during a long stretch in my 20′s, I found myself quickly drawn into the background of the novel. Before long I was neck deep in a Wikipedia wormhole following Lyle’s historical threads and their real world simulacrums. After my supplementary reading, I wanted to ask her a few questions… Lyle agreed.
When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers’ wake, bringing Native American goods–and a skrayling ambassador–to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I’s capital?
Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador’s bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems.