I don’t read comics anymore, but I sure used to. For the last three weeks I’ve been on a work trip, which blissfully coincides with where I grew up. I’ve been staying with my folks in the same room I was raised in, albeit with a much different decor aesthetic (mom didn’t dig bikini clad women, wtf?). I’ll be getting on a plane later tonight to head home.
In packing up, I stumbled across a few boxes in the closet. I thought some of you might get a kick out of what I found:
Is that the first issue of almost every one of Image’s launch titles? Yes, yes it is.
Brent Weeks has a blurb on Terry Brooks’ UK edition of Dark Legacy of Shannara: Bloodfire Quest. I’m sure that’s a surreal moment for Weeks who was aided by a blurb from Brooks on his debut novel, Way of Shadows:
‘I was mesmerized from start to finish. Unforgettable characters, a plot that kept me guessing, non-stop action and the kind of in-depth storytelling that makes me admire a writer’s work’ — Terry Brooks on The Way of Shadows
On the back of that blurb and a brilliant marketing strategy from Orbit, Weeks’ first trilogy was a huge hit (I’m sure it had something to do with it being good too). Since then, Weeks has been considered a rising star in the genre, further cemented by The Black Prism debuting at #23 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Despite Weeks’ commercial success, I wasn’t quite ready to coronate him one of the heirs apparent to the epic fantasists of the 1980′s and 90′s.… Read the rest
Having been on a work trip, I find myself spending a lot of time in the car commuting and driving to various meetings. The result is a lot of time with audio books. It’s been a nice break and an opportunity to catch up on a few things I haven’t been able to get into in print. The following three books are what I’ve recently finished. Before my trip is over I suspect to finish two more, John Steakley’s Armor, and probably Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint.
Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregellis
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m pretty much done with World War II. It’s just been done to death, hasn’t it? The History Channel might as well be Hitler Channel for crying out loud. Or at least that’s what I said before I listened to Ian Tregellis’ Bitter Seeds.
Beginning in the early stages of World War II, Bitter Seeds shows the secret history of the conflict between Germany’s Gotterelektrongruppe (Nazi mutants, a la X-Men) and Britain’s warlocks.
I apologize for the lack of activity around here the last week or so. I’m on a work trip and for some reason I have a hard time writing when I’m not in my own work space. And even worse, I have a hard time laying out blog posts. Who knows? In any case, here are the rest of the winners for Debut Authorpalooza. I want to thank the authors again for their awesome posts, and more importantly, their awesome novels. Thanks also to everyone who participated!
Here are the winners:
Miserere: An Autumn Tale by Teresa Frohock
Mieneke van der Salm, Netherlands
The Emperor’s Knife by Mazarkis Williams
Mia C., Elmhurst, New York
Ken F., Flagstaff, Arizona
The Winds of Khalakovo and The Straits of Galahesh
by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Sandino S., Bulgaria
The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle
Doug S., Chandler, Arizona
Elias C., Spain
GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Sharon R., Davenport, Iowa
I’m sure Sharon is wondering what she’s won exactly.
Debut Authorpalooza was a two week event celebrating some of my favorite debuts from the last eighteen months. I posted guest posts from all the authors about their experience writing their second books and included an excerpt from their work in progress. All the authors chipped in books to giveaway, including a massive grand prize giveaway. Thanks to the god of random draw, one gentleman won twice. Since I didn’t prohibit it in the rules… well… lucky guy!
Here are the winners from the first week of authors!
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Brandon Z., Williamsport, PA
Ally R., Australia
God’s War and Infidel by Kameron Hurley
Mark S., Bloomington, Indiana
Paul W., Roseville, Minnesota
Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper
Brandon Z., Williamsport, PA Elton P., Canton, Georgia
The Whitefire Crossing and The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer
Chris H., Apple Valley, Minnesota
Mikael S., Sweden
Rebekah K., Morrisville, North Carolina
Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht
Scott C., Canada
Josh M., Perry, Utah
Check back tomorrow for the second half of the winners!… Read the rest
I owe Terry Brooks a lot, so much so that I hesitate to write this review. In 1991, I read The Sword of Shannara and opened the door to two decades of imagination. I still rank it as one of my favorite books ever written. I went on to read Elfstones of Shannara and Wishsong of Shannara, both superior novels to the original, as well as the subsequent Heritage of Shannara quartet, a spectacular follow-up series to my memory. Thirteen years later I haven’t read any further. Encouraged by Aidan Moher of A Dribble of Ink to give Brooks another go, I picked up Wards of Faerie to see where the wind would take me.
Given that fourteen Shannara books filled the gap between The Talismans of Shannara and Wards of Faerie, I was moderately concerned that I’d be lost among the history of Brooks’ creations. I’m happy report that fear unfounded.… Read the rest
Peter Brett’s two novellas, published by Subterranean Press, fill in some of the time gaps in his first novel The Warded Man. Where Brett’s novels are decidedly epic fantasy, both of his shorts ignore scope and grandiose machinations in favor of the here and now. Sword and sorcery is often described as a self-interested protagonist who does what needs doing while killing monsters. In this case it fits, but I would argue that the difference is much more about narrative pace and structure than any particular story element. In both senses, The Great Bazaar and Brayan’s Gold are decidedly sword and sorcery.
Great Bazaar, the first of the two novellas, fills in a gap of time that was left unexplained in Warded Man. It provides the method by which Arlen gains the financial backing for his later trips into the desert. The tale is essentially a quest to find a deserted city destroyed by demons decades previous and return with the beautiful pottery it was once famed for.… Read the rest
A few weeks back SF Signal approached me about my interest in doing a column. After some back and forth we decided on a column about small presses. I’ve always been a fan of reading things a little off the beaten path around here and I hope to do even more of it in the months ahead. It’s an important subject and one I’m passionate about. I very much appreciate SF Signal giving me the opportunity.
My point of view with the column centers around what role small presses play in the larger game of science fiction and fantasy. Not just what are they’re doing, but hopefully a little bit about why they’re doing it. I’ll also be reading a few books from the press before each column to get a feel for what they’re all about. When appropriate I’ll be reviewing them here. I began with Small Beer Press:
I begin with Small Beer Press, founded by husband and wife Gavin Grant and Kelly Link who first teamed up in the late 90′s under the Hugo-nominated zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.
Daniel Polansky’s debut novel, Low Town, was released last year by Doubleday. Owned by Random House, Doubleday publishes mostly mainstream fiction, with a smattering of science fiction and fantasy. Some of their more recent genre work includes David Anthony Durham’s Acacia Trilogy and Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairy Tale. For the most part, they do a reasonably good job of crossing over to the different genres, marking them to the appropriate audience.
David Anthony Durham’s recent covers code perfectly for fans of genre and the George R.R. Martin quotes are fantastic.
With the paperback release of Low Town, not so much.
A quote from the Newark Star-Ledger and cover art that would be more appropriate on a Chuck Palahniuk novel, Doubleday has branded Low Town as literary fiction. If Polansky’s novel was a crime thriller, or historical fantasy, or urban fantasy, or magical realism, I’d probably go along with it.… Read the rest
Prince of Thorns, Mark Lawrence’s 2011 debut novel, was not well received in all corners, occasionally offending reader sensibilities. Jorg, the protagonist and narrator throughout the series, is a self interested often bloodthirsty teenager who’s ruled equally by his emotions and lack thereof. Those hoping for a redemptive tale, or an ultimately apologetic tone from the author, found themselves woefully bereft. Deeply disturbing, and written with a haunting elegance, I called it the best fantasy debut of 2011. To say I was eagerly anticipating its sequel, King of Thorns, would be an understatement akin to George R.R. Martin sells a few books.
Jorg, no longer a wandering prince in search of revenge, has taken a throne. Not his father’s or the Empire’s, but it’s a start. The path he carved has made him visible to those who share his lust for power, and now a six nation army marches toward his gates, led by a man far more suited to rule than he.… Read the rest