I can almost provide this cover image without comment. The third in Elizabeth Bear’s brilliant Eternal Sky trilogy, Steles of the Sky continues the story of Re Temur and the Wizard Samarkar in their fight against the Nameless Ones. It isn’t due out until next Spring, but I couldn’t resist talking about the cover. The entire series has been done in this style that’s incredibly ephemeral and mystical. I think it suits the series perfectly.
A few other covers popped up from Tor this week that I thought I thought were worth sharing as well.… Read the rest
Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear
Remember when I made a bit of a stink that Range of Ghosts wasn’t nominated for a Hugo? I am even more vindicated by the exceptional quality of the sequel, Shattered Pillars. The new novel picks up right where Range of Ghosts left off with a disgraced horse lord and his wizard lover fighting against a fundamental religious megalomaniac.
There are times when Bear is a little unclear with her intent, or the inherent fuzziness of the magic raises an eyebrow, but couched in Bear’s gorgeous prose and confident voice everything comes off pitch perfect. I really can’t emphasize the point enough. Even when Shattered Pillars stumbles a bit with its pace or flow, there’s nothing that can derail my enjoyment because it’s just so well written. I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Bear’s, and I’ll be reading the next book in the series the second I get it.… Read the rest
I’m cutting it close getting this post done before my Hugo ballot is due. It’s a shame I’m only now finding the time to recognize the best books of 2012 three months in to 2013. Such is life.
Last year, I gave the Juice Box to Maureen McHugh’s After the Apocalypse, a collection of her short fiction, including three new stories. It really blew me away. I didn’t find a short story collection that impacted me nearly so much this year, although I regret that I did not read Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath. Thus, this year’s list is strictly novels.
Sadly, with the exception of one, all of this year’s short list are fantasy, which is likely a result of not reading 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, or M. John Harrison’s Empty Space. I’m certainly going to endeavor to read them in 2013. Among the science fiction I did read this year, the near misses include Faith by John Love (which I named best debut), Rapture by Kameron Hurley, Caliban’s War by James SA Corey, Chimera by TC McCarthy, and Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds.… Read the rest
My newest column on small presses has gone up at SF Signal. I focused the spotlight on Prime Books, a small publisher out of Maryland.
I apologize for being two months behind on my column. It’s been a busy time. My wife and I found out we’re having our second child. We bought a puppy. I’m transitioning into a new job. All of those are excuses, but the reality is Prime Books publishes collections of short fiction almost exclusively. And between you and me, I don’t really consume short fiction with any great vigor. See, I’m one of those readers who falls into the one more chapter syndrome. Novels suck me in, they demand I keep reading them well into the night. When I finished a short story I just put down the book, satisfied and ready to sleep.
For the purposes of this column, I’ve made it a point to read two new volumes from each publisher before writing about them.
… Read the rest