My short list for Cover of the Year is six books long (see below). There’s not really a connective thread between them except that none are photograph based — a trend I loathed in lasts years award, and I continue to find repellent Additionally, you’ll see no hooded men because hooded men are still lame and tired.
So what is my criteria? I’m so glad I asked.
I have four basic tenets in evaluating cover art. First is relevancy. A cover must relate to the book. Second it has to evoke something — wonder, mystery, fear, awe, movement, whatever. Third, I like things that are different. I’m sick of the same old covers going for the same old audience. Give me art, not RPG manual doodles. Fourth, turn me on. Physically. This is only partly a joke.… Read the rest
In previous years, I’ve awarded this Juice Box to the editor whom I felt best directed an imprint. To do it any other way is really difficult. While I believe an award for best editor SHOULD go to an editor who best improves the work they buy through actual editing, it’s impossible to judge. I don’t know what books looked like when they were first bought by a publisher and how the editor influenced their development. Thusly, I shall continue on prior course, and look instead to an editor’s sense of editorial direction.
When 2012 began there was one name that kept popping up, Dongwon Song. He’s the man behind Robert Jackson Bennett’s superb The Troupe, TC McCarthy’s Exogene and Chimera, Daniel Abraham’s Dagger & Coin series, James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, among others. He also left Orbit before most of those books ever hit the streets, joining up with startup Zola Books, an online eBook retailer.… Read the rest
Consistency is how brands are built. I buy Land O’ Lakes Butter because I’ve baked with it so many times and it does the trick. There’s certainly something to be said for happenstance, I mean how many other kinds of butter have I realistically tried? But, it’s never let me down, so here we are.
It would be a mistake to look at books like I look at butter. Not all books are designed to bake a cake or lather up toast. Books are incredibly subjective in a way that butter never could be. But, just like butter, there’s value is producing a product that consumers can come to rely on. Since starting this blog I’ve come to rely on certain presses to produce certain kinds of fiction. Pyr has an adventure oriented mentality with all that they produce, and Ace prefers episodic stories. In that way, they’re consistent in the kinds of books they tend to publish.… Read the rest
I recently detailed the intricacies of the Shadow Ops magic system over at Fantasy Faction. In that post, I hinted that there was more to magic than the basic authorized and Probe school system I laid out in Control Point.
In this article, I’ve decided to gives a glimpse into the more esoteric, one might even say singular, magical categories, arcane arts so rare, so unique, that they can only be channeled by the writing style of a particular person.
Sam Sykes — Author of The Skybound Sea
A special sub-species of Hydromancy. Sykes has the ability to cause any person to find themselves suddenly moving across the surface of the ocean, where they shall remain for at least 150 pages.… Read the rest
I hear two main complaints among those who read Myke Cole’s debut novel, Control Point. First, the novel’s protagonist Oscar Britton was an indecisive and unlikable whiner. Second, that the writing and dialogue lacked polish. Personally, I didn’t find either of those items to be true, but I can say without a shadow of doubt that both are improved in Cole’s second novel, Fortress Frontier.
Given the ending of the first novel, I anticipated that the story of Oscar Britton taking on the establishment to bring rights to Latents — a Magneto figure, if you will — would continue. While Oscar does make an appearance, Fortress Frontier isn’t about him. Instead, Cole replaces him with Col. Alan Bookerbinder, an Army bureaucrat who comes up latent, tearing him away from his comfortable suburban life and throwing him to the wolves. . . or goblins as it were. The novel is better off for it.… Read the rest
News flash, intrepid readers. France knows how to paint. I could say Marc Simonetti knows how to paint, but it seems like everyone in French publishing gets it to a degree America does not.
Look at this gorgeous cover for Sam Sykes’ newest novel, The Skybound Sea:
I don’t want to belittle the covers for Sykes’ US and UK editions, but I’m going to anyway. I mean, it’s like comparing a US aircraft carrier to my rubber ducky.
Am I wrong?… Read the rest
A year ago I would given this award to Night Shade Books without hesitation. They were publishing consistently good novels, most of which were debuts, that felt polished. 2012 not so much. Their debut line-up slipped noticeably, although there were several standouts, and even their more seasoned authors felt untouched by the editorial process.
Who then wears the crown for 2012? With Pyr, Angry Robot, and Jo Fletcher off the table thanks to the backing of a larger publisher (Prometheus, Osprey, and Quercus respectively), the remaining presses are small even compared to Night Shade.
For me, it comes down to two: Small Beer Press and their outstanding commitment to fabulist (and other) fiction and ChiZine Publications’ weird/dark list. There are other very good small presses –Pandemonium, Prime, Tachyon, and Subterranean, to name a few — but none that maintain the standard of interesting points of view as my two finalists.… Read the rest
I didn’t get a copy of A Memory of Light from Tor. But, the Mad Hatter did. He didn’t feel up to date enough in the series to review the book, so he paid it forward and I offered to write the review for his site. He also says some nice things about me at the end. . .
My thoughts on A Memory of Light and the Wheel of Time:
Two diplomas, three jobs, one marriage, one kid, three dogs, twenty years. Those are a few of the things that have happened to me since I read Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World for the first time. I’ve since read it a dozen times. I love it almost as much today as I did then. Rand’s long walk from his home to Emond’s Field, his father laid out on the horse cart clinging to life, still instills the same sense of dread and determination it always has.
… Read the rest
So, 2012 is over and that means it’s time for the ‘Best of 2012′ lists to start trickling out. The truth is I’m a little behind the trend due to some real world constraints, but it’s time to get on the horse. Last year I debuted my ‘Juice Box Awards’ and I dug it. The’re back.
I’m going to be doing a short list (5) for each of the book awards and then I always like to give a few Juice Boxes out to people or presses in the industry I think worthy of recognition. I’ll be doing a separate post for each category with a goal of having them all done before February (we’ll see). My award categories are as follows:
Best Small Press of 2012
Editor of the Year
Cover of the Year
Best Book I Read This Year Not Published in 2012
Most Disappointing Book of 2012
Debut of the Year
Book of the Year
*I reserve the right to add nonsense awards at any time. … Read the rest
Last year, I began a partnership with Jared Shurin, co-owner/editor of Pandemonium Fiction, to release an anthology titled Speculative Fiction 2012, The Years Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, with proceeds to be donated to charity.
Our goal, if any such thing can be claimed, is to create a record of all the incredibly rich content being created on the web. We put out a call for submissions from the community at large and received over 200. Accounting for our own finds, that means well over 300 pieces of non-fiction that range from reviews, to essays about the field, to what it means to live the genre life (or something to that effect).
Over the next few weeks we’ll be narrowing that down under fifty, contacting authors to get rights, and writing our witty and charming introduction that will both highlight our complete capability as curators of taste and impugn our credibility with self aggrandizing adjectives.… Read the rest