Below are the novels coming this Fall and Winter that I think are must reads. The truth is, I can’t read them all so I’m looking forward to seeing what interests you. I’m not going to mention Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country and Brent Weeks’s The Blinding Knife because they fall into the no-shit category. I want to read them, and so does everybody else.
Here’s what else caught my eye:
Stray Souls by Kate Griffin (September 2012)
Sharon Li has just discovered she’s a shaman. And not a moment too soon: London’s soul has gone missing. If anyone can solve the mystery and rescue the dying city, she can, but she’ll need help—from the support group she’s just set up for people with magical issues. Now, this motley crew must find a way to save the world….
I’ve never read Griffin’s work before and as my readers know I’m not generally a big fan of urban fantasy as a subgenre.
Around these parts I commit myself to (at least try) finishing everything I start. Why, you ask? Because I think it’s important for me to help my readers make decisions about what they should buy and what they should avoid. If I only read things that I enjoy, how will I ever fulfill the second half of that commitment? I’m also loathe to spend 800 words eviscerating someone’s baby. Thus, Cheryl was born. Cheryl is my imaginary personal assistant who helps me “review” novels I really did not like. Instead of just doggedly attacking a novel’s failures, I try to have some fun with it and get some laughs. Hopefully it’s taken the way I intend it. This is my sixth installment of posts featuring Cheryl. If you enjoy this one, I suggest finding the Cheryl tag on the right sidebar for the others. Interestingly, in the case of John Scalzi’s new novel Redshirts, I finished it because I found it legitimately intriguing.… Read the rest
China Miéville, international man of mystery & outlandish science fictional ideas, has released a new novel targeted at readers of ‘all ages’, which is (typically) code for: a young adult novel that old people should like too. I would say in this case it means something closer to: this is a novel for adults that young people ought to read. I tried hard to come up with a clever way to describe my feelings about it. Instead I came up with this. Imagine those Magic Eye prints from the 1990′s. Stare at them for a few minutes, allow the eye to unfocus, & a 3D image appears within the 2D pattern. That’s Railsea. Unfortunately, just like the Magic Eye prints, some people will be incapable of seeing anything in it.
Surprisingly, that analogy works quite well as the concept of the railsea looks something like the jumbled mess of Magic Eye art.… Read the rest
The subgenre. Oh ye fickle beast. As a genre fiction blogger I find that when in doubt, argue a novel’s right to claim itself as urban fantasy or paranormal romance or magical realism. Trust me. It’s great fun and always manages to generate comments. In reality, genre predates blogging. Hard to imagine, I know.
The first recorded use of genres can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle. Plato argued for a triptych including drama, dithyramb, and epic. Aristotle provided something that makes a lot more sense to a modern reader with tragedy, epic, comedy, and parody. Modern discussions of genre get real complex real quick with concepts like rhetorical situation, ecology of genre, social contract, et. al. One of the more salient concepts that’s sprung from modern criticism is the notion of ‘tyranny of genre’. Genre theorist Richard Coe wrote that “the ‘tyranny of genre’ is normally taken to signify how generic structures constrain individual creativity” In other words, move along nothing to see here.… Read the rest
Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch, who along with his partner Anne Perry writes one of the best blogs on planet Earth, queried the Twitter about people’s favorite novels from their childhoods. I responded with The Sword of Shannara and thought nothing else of it. Then Jared asked me to write about it. It took me a while. I had no idea what angle to take or how to put my thoughts into words.
This is what I can up with:
Not a date the world recognizes. It’s not 5/8/45 or 11/22/63 or 7/20/69 or 9/11/01. But, January 17, 1994, just outside Los Angeles, California, an earthquake struck. Fifty-seven people lost their lives and nearly nine thousand were injured. Twenty billion in property damage, it remains one of the most devastating natural disasters in history.
It was a seminal moment in my life for wholly different reasons.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I try not to under appreciate mine. This holiday has become increasingly complex for me in recent years. Mom, wife (mother of my child), and mother-in-law. It’s a triumvirate that used to be a single. I’m not complaining, but it seems like they’re ganging up on me. Right?
in any case, I just got back from brunch the family and I’m a lucky guy.
Yes, that’s Diego. No this photo wasn’t from brunch. How awesome would that be? No, that’s not me inside the suit, nice try though. Do I look like I can pull off the one strap backpack? Please.
I also pulled the winners of the recent “clear the shelves” giveaway! The winners are:
Comedy is a real bitch to write. When I asked G.J. Koch, author of Alexander Outland: Space Pirate to talk with me about her new novel she said, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard. In part because everyone can agree that the hero dying before he gets to marry the princess is tragic, but what makes me laugh and what makes you laugh can be very different things.”
I can identify. I try to be funny around here sometimes and my success rate is probably in the neighborhood of an Orson Scott Card keynote speech at the Democrat National Convention. I’m going to stop typing for a minute to give everyone a minute to recover from that hilarious image….
Interestingly, I feel like 2012 has a chance to be revitalizing year for comedic science fiction. As Koch points out, “For a long time, it seemed like Robert Lynn Asprin was the only one ‘writing funny’ and then Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett arrived, and then Adams and Asprin died and it was only Pratchett out there.… Read the rest
I was looking through my Goodreads Read-2012 shelf and I was intrigued by a pattern I saw developing. Namely, that there seems to be a goodly number of high profile science fiction titles released this year.
In the next few weeks:
Blue Remembered Earth by Alistair Reynolds Redshirts: A Novel of Three Codas by John Scalzi 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Existence by David Brin Railsea by China Mieville
The Drowned Cities by Paolo Baciagalupi
We’ve already seen the release of:
11/22/63 by Stephen King Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell Triggers by Robert J. Sawyer
In the coming months we’ll have:
The Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujols
The Hydrogen Sonata by Ian M. Banks
Not to mention some high profile authors diving back in with co-wrtiers:
Bowl of Heaven by Larry Niven and Gregory Benford The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxyer
One Thousand and One Nights, or as it’s better known in the English speaking world, Arabian Nights, is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. The basic premise is that a Persian king discovers his wife’s infidelity and has her executed. Deciding all women are the same, the king marries a series of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to cuckold him. Eventually the vizier cannot find any more virgins until his daughter, Scheherazade, volunteers herself as the next bride. On the night of their marriage, she begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it, forcing the king to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion, postpones her execution once again.… Read the rest
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. I fully expect half of the people reading this post to say, ‘no shit dude I read that like 10 years ago!’ To you I say, you’re right. Most of this stuff will be widely read, but I hope not all of it. I also hope to recommend things outside of genre that will appeal to fans. We’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully, this post, and others like it, will turn people on to things they’ve never heard of, or never considered reading.
Before I get into the post, I should probably talk about American Gods first. I’ve not reviewed it myself, but my friends over at The Ranting Dragon have and I like how they put it:
American Gods is at times disturbing, strange and mysterious as we follow Shadow and his employer, Mr.