Archive for June, 2014

REVIEW SUMMARY: Returning to the world of The Blackdog, Johansen crafts half of a story continuing the machinations of wizards, devils and Gods.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS:: At the trading city of Marakand, a Goddess’ move to build an Empire draws the attention of assassins, devils, and stranger folk.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Welcome return to a rich, diverse, secondary world fantasy that looks beyond the usual Western European models; gorgeous writing.
CONS: Pacing needs work; title of the book is misleading; feels like half of a story rather than a self-contained one.
BOTTOM LINE: While not without issues, this is a pleasing step back into a fantasy world and characters that beg for more exposure.

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M.R. Carey is a pen name for an established British writer of prose fiction and comic books. He has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel’s flagship superhero titles. His creator-owned books regularly appear in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels and one Hollywood movie screenplay to his credit. His latest novel, The Girl with all the Gifts, is out now.

The Appliance of Science

by M.R. Carey

I always really sucked at science at school. I was okay with the theory part, but anything resembling an experiment was sure to fall apart in my hands. My test tubes broke, my air tracks didn’t blow and my dead frog had no internal organs. None. Just a single undifferentiated squishy bit, which I drew accurately and was then handed an after-school detention for my pains.

I feel bad about that frog now. I don’t see why he should have died in the cause of my deficient education. I don’t see why any frog should. My only hope, really, is that he wasn’t a frog at all but a spy from a race of shape-shifting aliens who can mimic the outer appearance of anything but can’t disguise their undifferentiated squishy interiors, so different from the neat, purposeful organs we Terran life forms enjoy.
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Marcus Sakey has worked as a landscaper, a theatrical carpenter, a 3D animator, a woefully unprepared movie reviewer, a tutor, and a graphic designer who couldn’t draw. In 2007 his first novel, The Blade Itself, was published to wide critical acclaim, and thank god, because nothing else seemed to be working. His books, which inlcude The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, The Amateurs, Good People, Accelerant (At The City’s Edge), and Scar Tissue, have been nominated for more than a dozen awards. His fiction is sold worldwide. His latest novel, A Better World, was published by Thomas & Mercer in June 2014.

Pre-publication, Brilliance was optioned for film by Legendary Pictures in a seven-figure deal, with Spider-Man scribe David Koepp attached to adapt. His novel Good People is currently shooting in London; the film, which stars James Franco, Kate Hudson, and Tom Wilkinson is directed by Academy Award-nominated Henrik Genz. Several of his other books have also been optioned for film.

Marcus is the host and writer of the acclaimed television show Hidden City on Travel Channel, for which he is routinely pepper-sprayed and attacked by dogs. He has rappelled with SWAT teams, pub crawled with bank robbers, dissected a human brain, dived for pirate treasure, and learned to pick a deadbolt. He claims it was all for research. He loves travelling, especially if he might hurt himself. He is an excellent cook and a spice junkie. He enjoys writing about himself in the third person.

Marcus lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook, where he posts under the clever handle @MarcusSakey.

Marcus’s two newest novels, Brilliance, and A Better World have met with wide acclaim, and he kindly answered a few of my questions about the series!
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ABOUT ZAHATAR: The term “Zahatar” refers to a timeless spice blend from the Middle East. The band Zahatar brings modern spice to timeless tunes. Zahatar arranges all of its own music, pulling themes from the Celtic tradition, Chinese and Spanish folk melodies, bluegrass, pop/rock, film soundtracks, ragtime, the Classical era, and more. Zahatar is currently comprised of Christopher Grano on violin/fiddle, Sarah Hoskins on cello/djembe, Scott Stewart on viola, ‘Cille Lutsch on flute/pennywhistle, Emily Smith on pedal and Celtic harps, and Shilo Stroman on percussion. Zahatar is currently crowd funding an acoustic album based on the lyrics from Charles de Lint’s The Little Country. Follow them on their website, Facebook, and on Twitter as @zahatar.

The Mysterious Nature of Music in Fantasy Fiction

by Christopher Grano

Some might say that my love of music and my love of fantasy fiction are merely complementary, but for me, they are a singular passion. Stories told through music speak to all of us. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stated that music is the universal human language, while more than a hundred years later, Marilyn Manson would say that music is the strongest form of magic.

Music is a cornerstone of fantasy. The first songs told stories to explain the creation of the world, long before history benefitted from the written word, before the word “civilization” even existed. The human voice was the world’s first musical instrument; it required no tools to build. Music has always been a tradition of humankind, right along with storytelling.
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Daily Science Fiction has announced its June line-up of free stories.
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There is still some time left for you to enter our giveaway for an autographed copy of Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines…but hurry, time is running out!

See the original post for details on how to enter.

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.
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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-06-30

Interviews & Profiles

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Here’s a short animated film by Alyse Miller and Phillip Simon. Enjoy!

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Today at 5:15 PM CT at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX, there will be a live Q&A to promote Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Editor Devin Faraci will moderate the Q&A with director Matt Reeves and stars Andy Serkis and Gary Oldman.

What’s that? You can’t be there? That’s OK. You can watch the live Q&A right here!

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Today only, the following eBooks are on sale for $1.99 — grab ‘em while you can if you want ‘em!

It’s time another Book Cover Smackdown! This time around, covers of forthcoming space opera titles go head-to-head. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Pass artistic judgment!

Tell us:

  • Which of these covers do you like the most?
  • What works and what doesn’t work with these covers?
  • Do any of them make you want to learn more about and/or read the book?

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Here is the table of contents for the new issue of Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, the online/downloadable magazine edited by Mike Resnick. Here’s the table of contents for the issue:
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Ringworld is a novel that’s always stuck with me. I picked it up alongside authors such as Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, and other authors from that point in time. Foundation and Dune are two books that are among my favorites, but Ringworld has long been the best of the lot. It’s vivid, funny, exciting and so forth. Reading it again recently in preparation for this column, I was astounded at how well it’s held up (as opposed to Foundation) in the years since it’s publication, and I can’t wait to read it again.

Go read Larry Niven’s Ringworld and Known Space Stories  over on Kirkus Reviews.

Here’s the trailer for To Be Takei, a documentary about Star Trek‘s George Takei and what led him to become a geek icon.

To Be Takei premieres August 22 in theaters and on iTunes.

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The winner of our giveaway for Dark Shepherd: The Art of Fred Gambino has been chosen and notified.

Congratulations to: Margo-Lea H.!

You will be receiving your prize soon!

Thanks to everyone who entered.

SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-06-28

Interviews & Profiles

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Here’s the cover and synopsis for Helen Marshall’s upcoming collection Gifts for the One Who Comes After. (Cover by Erik Mohr.)

Here’s the synopsis:
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Chris Kelso is a writer, illustrator and editor. His books in addition to The Black Dog Eats the City include: Schadenfreude (Dog Horn Publishing), Last Exit to Interzone (Black Dharma Press), A Message from the Slave State (Western Legends Books), Moosejaw Frontier (Bizarro Pulp Press), Transmatic (MorbidbookS). He recently edited Caledonia Dreamin’ – Strange Fiction of Scottish Descent with Hal Duncan and is the co-creator of the anti-New Yorker, Imperial Youth Review. Learn more and follow Chris at his website, Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook.

5 Scottish SF Writers Who Might Just Blow Your Mind

by Chris Kelso

There has been something of an SF revival in Scotland recently. Writers here, as anywhere, come together for critique workshops, groups such as the Glasgow SF Writers’ Circle. Here’s a wee list of Scotland’s brightest exemplars that are on the verge of going supernova.

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Well this sneaked up on me!

If you are in the Houston area this weekend, you should check out the always-fun ApolloCon convention.

This year’s guests include Guest of Honor David Gerrold, Artist Guest of Honor Theresa Mather, Editor Guest of Honor P.N. Elrod, and Fan Guest of Honor Al Griego as well as many regional guests.

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