Thoughts experiments are dangerous things. You know what’s even more dangerous? Thoughts of any kind from the mind of fantasy author Sam Sykes. Thought experiments. . . well, those are just frightening. Nevertheless, Sykes tweeted this gem:
I had to know more. What follows is Sykes’s proposed program of SamCon ’12. May God help us all.… Read the rest
One of the things I like about novels is that they’re excessive by nature. My creative writing teacher in college made the point that short stories are snapshots – perfect little bubbles in time – and novels are more like films, much larger, with much larger scope, and not necessarily as clean; but I still don’t think this really captures the expansive nature of novels, which are capable of going down rabbitholes and exploring avenues of thought film just doesn’t have the resources or time or even the ability to do.
This is not to say that all novels, by nature of their medium, contain excess: Dashiell Hammett’s work is as efficient and engineered as a scalpel, without a trace of fat on it, neither needing more nor wanting it. Nor does it mean that excess is a virtue in novels: tepid navel-gazing will always be an offense, without question.… 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
Bringing up the rear, is Douglas Hulick, author of one of the most exciting novels of 2011, Among Thieves. I bought the novel electronically. After reading it, I was stunned to learn that it was limited to a mass market paperback. Similar to 2012 debut author Myke Cole’s Control Point (also an Ace/Roc mass market paperback), Among Thieves became a success due almost entirely to word of mouth as opposed to the big-six marketing machine.
Hulick’s novel adds a new chapter to the thief subgenre and it stands out as the best thing to happen to it since Scott Lynch’s masterpiece, The Lies of Locke Lamora. It’s also unique in the characterization of Drothe, Hulick’s protagonist and narrator. Namely, he’s not special. The result is a character that the reader can identify with in a personal way even while he accomplishes things way outside the purview of his natural ability.
… Read the rest
As far as covers go, there’s one style that’s nearly guaranteed to do well in the fantasy world and Anne Lyle’s debut novel, The Alchemist of Souls, nailed it. Intensely character driven, with a hint of action and a dash of mystery, it sent all the right signals to readers. Even better, Lyle completely delivered on that promise with an excellently paced historical fantasy full of plot twists.
With a cross-dressing female, several gay men, and a Catholic, Lyle’s characters are all poorly suited to surviving life in Elizabethan England. Lyle does an incredible job of merging these progressive characters with the setting, never making them feel anachronistic (can people be anachronistic?). They’re also just a ton of fun to read about too, making Alchemist of Souls my favorite Angry Robot novel since Zoo City.
All the way from the Cambridge, Anne Lyle…
In spring 2011 I signed a contract with Angry Robot for a historical fantasy trilogy, having submitted a finished manuscript of one book, The Alchemist of Souls, and the synopsis for a second.
… Read the rest
I tried to read Winds of Khalakovo three times before it finally hooked me. I figure that was for two reasons. One, I tried reading the trade paperback first, and that damn thing was more akin to Clue murder weapon than novel. Being a big “in bed” reader, it wasn’t easy to hold up. Once I made the switch to the electronic version, I was able to really tuck into it. Second, Beaulieu doesn’t take a lot of time to ease the reader into things, jumping quickly into the main narrative.
All that goes to say that Winds takes some investment, both of time and mental capacity. It’s an investment well worth making. In my review I called it the merging of Russian literary tradition with the epic fantasy, making it unique in a field often characterized by its sameness.
Coasting in on a airship of his own making, Bradley P.
… Read the rest
Miserere: An Autumn Tale was one of the most unexpected delights of 2011. I called it one of the five best debuts of 2011, and I stand by that ranking. It’s a beautiful book of redemption and loss, hope and forgiveness. I can’t recommend it enough, even for those readers perhaps skeptical of a fantasy novel couched in Christian myth.
Looking forward, I was surprised to learn that Frohock’s contract didn’t call for a second novel, at least not immediately. Instead, she began work on an unrelated work titled The Garden that seems to play on a similar premise of holy and not. Although unconnected to Miserere, I can’t wait to read it. I’ll be posting the first chapter later today, and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.
In the meantime though, let’s hear what Teresa Frohock has to say about writing her second novel…
I’ve always been a bit ambitious when it comes to my work.… Read the rest
There will always be a special place in my heart for Courtney Schafer’s The Whitefire Crossing. It’s the first book I reviewed as a blogger that felt like discovery. I was the first blogger to review it (I think), and I absolutely adored it. Complete with a setting that shines in Schafer’s experienced mountain climber hands, Whitefire is a charming chase novel that promises a much deeper plot in future novels.
I should mention that Schafer took a real risk with Whitefire’s narration, swapping between first and third person depending on the point of view. It’s a tough thing to do for any author, especially an author in her debut, but Schafer pulls it off with aplomb, further evidence to the fact that she’ll be in this business for a long time. I hope anyone who reads this post will give her a shot.
Here’s Courtney Schafer…
I’ve heard some authors say their second published novel came easier than their first.… Read the rest