The image above is a slice from the Gollancz re-issue of Simon Ings’ 1999 Headlong, originally published by HarperCollins. The art from Jeffery Alan Love (website) is absolutely haunting. Known for his work in outlets like the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and other major editorial publications, Love hasn’t done a ton of cover work, although he certainly does a lot of science fiction and fantasy themed illustration. For example, here’s a pair of images, one of ‘The Hound’ from George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, and the other a piece of Tomb Raider art.
Look at the Hound again. Notice the facial details and the armor hinted at with the rounded lines at shoulder, elbow, and waist. But, look at the Hound’s chest. The hole in the middle of him, the gaping lack of something or the pulsing heart inside the black armor? Love puts a lot into the piece, but asks, much as Martin does in his novel, for us to interpret what the Hound really is or isn’t.… Read the rest
Beautiful, isn’t it? It reminds me quite a bit of the cover for Adam Robert’s award winning Jack Glass. Gospel for Loki is a different artist though, coming from the minds of Andreas Preis with additional design by Craig Fraser. Did you notice the cool Rainbow Bridge in the back left corner? Very cool Norse themes to it. The blurb for the title sounds particularly bad ass too.
Loki, that’s me.
Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.
So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.
Now it’s my turn to take the stage.
With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other.
… Read the rest
Today begins my deep, dark, dive into the mind of Joe Abercrombie. I touch on my interpretation of grimdark, what Abercrombie is trying to accomplish in The First Law Trilogy, and begin rereading the prologue.
Go check it out:
Welcome to the officially unofficial reread of Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself, and, unless I do something horrifically offensive, eventually the entire First Law Trilogy.
If you’re not familiar with Joe Abercrombie I ought to cast you into Tartarus. However, due to the constraints unfairly placed on me by Tor.com’s legal team, I’ve elected to educate rather than banish to hell. Consider yourself warned.
[Read more after the jump. . .]
… Read the rest
It’s been a long time since I did an “If you liked” post. Since Joe Abercrombie is becoming the center of my blogging life for the foreseeable future, I figured I’d talk about him some more. One of the things that makes Abercrombie unique is that all of his books are written in a different style. The First Law Trilogy riffs on epic fantasy. Best Served Cold plays with the exploitation revenge thriller. The Heroes leans on war novel tropes. And Red Country dresses up in wild west garb.
Since I’m going to be writing the Abercrombie reread at Tor.com, and I presume many of my readers here have already read Abercrombie, I want to provide some Abercrombie inspired recommendations for those who’ve enjoyed his work. To make it more fun I’ve made a recommendation inspired by each of his works, and a fifth recommendation based on his entire catalog.
Enjoy!… Read the rest
Yes, that’s a really big picture of the title of Joe Abercrombie’s first book. I’m a pretty big proponent of his work, in case anyone wasn’t aware yet. I posted it in celebration of my first post at Tor.com which was published this morning. In it I review Abercrombie’s newest short story “Some Desperado”.
I had not really considered writing for Tor.com until recently when they let Jared Shurin from Pornokitsch in the door. Two things became apparent: (a) I couldn’t let Jared do something I wasn’t also doing and (b) I figured they’ll let anyone write for them. And here we are.
The story I’m reviewing today features Red Country protagonist Shy South and will appear in the George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois anthology, Dangerous Women. Perhaps more significant though, I’m announcing the OFFICIAL (unofficial) reread of Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy which I will be writing for Tor.com.… Read the rest
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
If ever there’s been a book most closely described by a single word, it would be Altered Carbon and the word would be visceral. It’s a word with many connotations, but one definition I read said, “dealing with crude or elemental emotions.” I think that puts a fine point on what kind of novel Richard Morgan wrote.
The bed went first, erupting into gouts of white goose down and ripped cloth, then Sarah, caught in the storm as she turned. I saw one leg turned to pulp below the knee, and then the body hits, bloody fistfuls of tissue torn out of her pale flanks as she fell through the curtain of fire. — Richard K. Morgan
The novel begins there, with Takeshi Kovacs gunned down with his partner, and lover, Sarah. Although never directly stated, it seems that they’ve been participating in some lawless activity.… Read the rest
I posted the first four covers a few weeks ago in Gollancz’s new series of Fantasy Masterworks. Here are two more gorgeous additions. I absolutely applaud the art director on these. I wish I could find some information on the artist(s).
Oddly, I’ve never heard of either of these novels. Anyone have any thoughts on them as fiction?… Read the rest
I’m going to present these covers largely un-editorialized. Well, less that usual. The truth is these gorgeous covers are as simple as they are intricate. They seem to capture some of the power of their underlying content, without reaching too far into the esoteric. Gollancz has really done an amazing job with these Fantasy Masterworks rereleases.
Also, I’m really glad there’s a publisher out there actively keeping these works alive.
What say you?
… Read the rest
Wheel of epic fantasy turn, turn, turn
Tell us the lesson that we should learn
And now on to the part of the blog where I present five novels that look. . . well. . . damn near identical. I’m sure there are all kinds of nuances that make them unique, but each clearly references that epic fantasy je ne sais quoi. Which one do you figure as the most likely to succeed?
#1) The Black Guard by A.J. Smith (August)
The Duke of Canarn is dead, executed by the King’s decree. The city lies in chaos, its people starving, sickening, and tyrannized by the ongoing presence of the King’s mercenary army. But still hope remains: the Duke’s children, the Lord Bromvy and Lady Bronwyn, have escaped their father’s fate.
Separated by enemy territory, hunted by the warrior clerics of the One God, Bromvy undertakes to win back the city with the help of the secretive outcasts of the Darkwald forest, the Dokkalfar.
… Read the rest
Rumor has it Miles Cameron, author of The Red Knight, is a pseudonym for historical fiction author Christian Cameron. I’ve no idea if it’s true, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Orbit’s new novel has a ring of authenticity that fantasy often eschews, particularly with regards to combat and tactics. It’s also woefully unoriginal, layered with ideas and elements that I’ve seen dozens of times before. In the end, Cameron has written a novel that promises different, but fails to live up to it, instead delivering the same expected narrative that fantasy fans have ‘enjoyed’ for a generation.
Billed as the story of a dragon hunting mercenary, the cover of my advanced copy reads,
“Forget George and the Dragon. Forget fancy knights and daring deeds. Slaying dragons is a bloody business.”
I’m sure it is, except no one slays any dragons in Red Knight. There is a dragon, and it plays a significant role eventually, but there’s decidedly no slaying.… Read the rest