I started this blog nearly two years ago. There were a few things I expected might happen with time. I figured publishers might start sending me books. I figured people might start reading me if I made any sense. And I even figured I might gain some measure of internet celebrity (I can’t be right all the time, can I?). Even still, it’s been a pretty successful endeavor.
Last night, I received a copy of Francis Knight’s forthcoming debut, Fade to Black. It really solidified how fun this can be. Wrapped in black glossy bubble wrap and then inscribed tissue paper, Orbit Books announced Knight’s novel with panache. It screams, ‘this is going to be a huge book in 2013, don’t miss it.’
I retain the right to tell Orbit they’re full of shit if it isn’t any good, but I’ll be damned if I’m not eagerly anticipating cracking it open after I finish the short stack next to my bed (for the curious, The Red Knight by Miles Cameron, Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky, The Bones of the Old Ones by Howard Andrew Jones). … Read the rest
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
-Roy, Blade Runner
Fan fiction is a dirty word, isn’t it? It carries with it a connotation of corrupting someone else’s intellectual property. Unfortunately, that connotation tends to ignore homage, an allusion to previous work on which a current project is based. To call Rosa Montero’s Tears in Rain fan fiction is a bit of a stretch. There’s no inclusion of characters from another’s work or a continuation of any particular plot point, but it is, as the quote above indicates, fundamentally based on Blade Runner, the Ridley Scott film sourced from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Montero posits a world in which Blade Runner the film existed and also came true.… Read the rest
Ask me what the I think the most impressive work of fantasy is, and I will answer — The Malazan Book of the Fallen. Steven Erikson’s ten novel series is astounding, challenging, interesting, riveting, and it’s often an awful mess. I say that last with a smile on my face. Erikson meanders through points of view, intersects plots, forgets plots, leaves others intentionally dangling, and rarely provides satisfying conclusions. His answer to this charge would be: history’s a mess too. That’s a perspective he embraces like never before in his newest novel, The Forge of Darkness.
I’ve heard Forge of Darkness referenced as a new entry point into Erikson’s work, and a prequel to Malazan. Such classifications are problematic. To begin, it’s quintessential Erikson — not easier to read, or more direct in its approach. There are also seemingly infinite numbers of points of view characters, so many in fact that keeping track of them often requires note taking.… Read the rest
Earlier this year I reviewed China Mièville’s newest novel, Railsea. It’s a young adult styled novel that’s equal parts Moby Dick and science fiction, with giant moles, endless railways, and a cumbersome narrative voice. Published by Pan Macmillan, they just unveiled a new cover for the paperback release. Behold:
Did Baen take over Pan Macmillan? I mean stick some cleavage on the front of that train and we’re on to something! Once again, I’m annoyed with covers that sell themselves as something they’re not. This is a literary novel with some young adult trappings. It is not, an adventure yarn akin to the Hardy Boys on a train. I can’t get behind this cover, despite the fact that I think it’s awesome. And it is awesome.
Discuss.… Read the rest
Almost two months ago, Bastard of Bastards Books asked me to write a guest post about why I’m not so jazzed with urban fantasy. I agreed, but it wasn’t a real easy post to tackle and I kept fussing with it. I finally got around to finishing it, and he finally got around to posting it.
My name is Justin, and I don’t like urban fantasy. This is where everyone says, “Hi Justin” and then I regale you with the stories about how the genre has burned me so often that I can longer stand to be in the same room with it. I might finish my little speech by saying, “And I’ve been urban fantasy free for 98 days.” Someone might even give me a pin to commemorate my unreliance. Of course, that isn’t really true. . . I do read urban fantasy. I’m just scared of wasting my life every time I do.
… Read the rest
With Kameron Hurley’s final novel in her Bel Dame Apocrypha being released, I thought it would be appropriate to rerun my God’s War and Infidel reviews at A Dribble of Ink, before publishing a review of Hurley’s concluding volume, Rapture.
I had a problem though, I didn’t really think my review of either of the first two novels was all that good. They were both written in my first six months as a blogger, and I thought they deserved better. So I rewrote them — never an easy thing to do. Here’s Infidel:
There’s a fine line between dark and compelling and horrifying and off-putting. When a story comes right up to the line without crossing it a certain dichotomy comes into existence whereby I want to look away and forget about it, but can’t. No author in recent memory walks this line better that Kameron Hurley whose second novel, Infidel, compliments that description perfectly.
… Read the rest
I’m traveling again. This means two things, lots of reading time and very little time to write. During my trip I’ve been reading a lot of YA. I’m not sure why, other than I’ve been putting them off for another day. It’s been fortuitous though as I find YA to be perfectly suited to the traveling reader — short, easily consumable, and often obvious in its subtext.
Below are three novels I read this week and my thoughts:
London Eye by Tim Lebbon
The most glaring observation almost anyone will make about London Eye is how short it is. Just over two hundred pages hardbound, it looks like a book cut in half. It reads that way too.
Cut off from the rest of the world, London is two years into the fallout of a devastating incident that’s left the city toxic. Jack and his friends all lost family on what has become known as Doomsday.… Read the rest
This is somewhat in response to the following articles:
Word on the street seems to be indicating that reviews written by authors, for other authors, on Amazon have been, or are being, removed. I’m not sure what to make of that. There’s undoubtedly been gross abuse of the Amazon review system by certain parties to promote books. Groups of authors have reviewed each others’ books and given glowing reviews without having read them.
Even at its most egregious though, how many reviews are we talking about? I have no idea. I feel confident though that the larger problem is an author’s ability to create ‘dummy’ accounts to review his own work (Stanek, Robert), or the work of his friends. Nothing in Amazon’s new policies will get at that problem. This is the internet, you can’t fix those things.… Read the rest
My readers may recall some months ago I had a very unique opportunity to watch some of the genre’s best writers play a game of D&D. Not only was I in the room, but I was filming it. From the footage I took I spliced together a quick trailer that I released back in February.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have ownership of the full recording which was around three hours long. The film I shot made a circuitous route through several hands before ending in Peter V. Brett’s possession. He took on the burden of having it edited and put together in a format that was actually watchable.
I apologize for the shoddy camera work, the room was tiny and I was buried in a corner with a fixed camera angle. I actually think the wall may have an impression of my ass to this day.
Without any additional preamble, thirty minutes of authors playing D&D:… Read the rest