Author Archive

REVIEW SUMMARY: An undeniable triumph of world building, Kay Kenyon’s The Entire and The Rose is a science fantasy tale of two worlds worth exploring despite the gradual pace dictated by occasional prose problems.

MY RATING: See individual reviews below.

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Former pilot Titus Quinn returns the universe he left behind seeking the fate of his wife and daughter. However, once he returns he discovers the two universes (Earth’s Rose and the alien Entire) may not be able to coexist peacefully. Quinn must decide which universe he calls home and the lengths to which he is willing to go to protect his family and that home.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Absolutely unique world-building that combines science fiction and fantasy elements and continues to grow throughout the entire series; Carefully plotted narrative that spans and evolves over four volumes; The world is exceptionally well integrated into the narrative rather than being adjacent to it.

CONS: Early volumes have problems with jarring perspective changes; Worldbuilding often uses infodumping rather than in-narrative elements; The story isn’t well segmented into individual novels, leaving readers with an all-or-none decision.

BOTTOM LINE: The Entire and The Rose is worth reading for the world building alone but be prepared to invest enough time to read all four books and get the complete narrative.

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INTERVIEW: Daniel Abraham

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

After a brief absence, Keeping An Eye On… has returned! This week’s author is none other than Daniel Abraham. I held off interviewing Daniel until late in the process because I had previously talked with his alter ego, M.L.N. Hanover a couple of months ago regarding a few Urban Fantasy covers of “typical quality” and I wanted to give him the opportunity to write a little more. It helps that everything he writes is definitely worth talking about. Additionally, that first interview focused on his Hanover books and Urban Fantasy in general, so I wanted to revisit Abraham’s own books and gauge his opinion on some more universally applicable subjects.

Abraham has proven to be one of the authors on most enjoyable authors on SF Signal’s Watchlist. Granted, that’s like picking the most attractive Victoria’s Secret model but nonetheless Abraham’s Long Price Quartet and Hanover’s Black Sun’s Daughter series are some of my recent favorites. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Abraham’s short fiction has been nominated for several major awards including the Nebula and World Fantasy. Needless to say, Abraham writes a pretty good story and if you keep reading, you’ll find he makes for a pretty good interview as well.

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INTERVIEW: Daryl Gregory

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

There’s been a brief hiatus of Keeping An Eye On… entries as I’ve already had the pleasure of talking to most of the authors on SF Signal’s Watchlist and there are only a few authors still escaping my completist grasp. When I first saw the list I checked out a few of the most repeated names that I hadn’t heard of. At the top of the list was an author by the name of Daryl Gregory. A little google research led me to an unassuming book by the title of Pandemonium. A few hundred pages later, I had finished my favorite read of 2008.

So it was no suprise when Pandemonium, Gregory’s debut novel was nominated for the World Fantasy Award, The Shirley Jackson Award for best dark fantasy or horror novel, the Locus Award for Best First Novel, The Mythopeic Award for Best Adult Fantasy Novel, and helped Gregoy take home the 2009 Crawford award for “outstanding new fantasy writer.”

And that was just his first novel, not counting any of his other shorter work which has been nominated for various awards as well. It might sound like I’m a huge fan of Daryl’s but I actually hate him. I read his stuff and I know that I could never write anything of comparable quality so I probably should just give up trying now. He’s a veritable SoulCrusher.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit reading his stuff. I’m vitriolic not stupid.

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REVIEW: Child of Fire by Harry Connolly

REVIEW SUMMARY: An unwelcome addition to the already bloated ranks of Urban Fantasy, Child of Fire breaks no new ground with inconsistent characterization and bland writing.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Novice sorcerer Ray Lilly investigates strange occurrences within the small coastal town of Hammer Bay. While trying to keep his boss from executing him for his own past crimes, Lilly attempts to track down and eliminate the threat responsible for deleting children from existence.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Starts out firing with a rapid pace that doesn’t subside, author has no problem killing characters.

CONS: No innovation within the Urban Fantasy genre, lack of consistent characterization, lack of plot resolution, overuse of the same solutions to obstacles, core writing fundamentals were lacking.

BOTTOM LINE: If you are looking for a new innovative Urban Fantasy series, keep looking. Child of Fire disappoints.

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INTERVIEW: Alan DeNiro

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

November is a big month for Keeping An Eye On authors. Out of the half dozen authors publishing work this month, none has more to be excited about than Alan DeNiro. On November 24th, DeNiro publishes his debut novel, Total Oblivion, More or Less. Debut novels are always exciting and you never know what a up-and-coming author is going to do . If I’ve learned anything from reading the early work of the authors on SF Signal’s Watchlist, it’s that they knock the ball out of the park when it comes to debut novels. It’s almost as if the editors and genre professionals that nominated them did so for a reason. But other than quality, I’m not sure what to expect out of Alan DeNiro. As I started following these developing authors, one of the first things I read was DeNiro’s first collection, Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead. Some authors do one thing and do it well; others dabble in different subgenres but never find their niche. And then there are the writers like Alan DeNiro or Neil Gaiman who do things in every genre and then invent several of their own and inexplicably their stories work. Skinny Dipping was a veritable cornucopia of ideas that was as creative and memorable as it was unpredictable and unique.

So when I had a chance to talk to Alan DeNiro I took advantage of the opportunity to find out a little bit more about Total Oblivion and how he manages to write such unique material. The interview follows after the jump.

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INTERVIEW: M Rickert

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

M. Rickert is one of the quieter authors I’ve been Keeping An Eye On. In fact I would say she seems to be the most reclusive of all the authors on SF Signal’s watchlist. (I couldn’t even get a picture for her). She’s keeps a very low profile in an attempt to let her work speak for itself. And speak for itself it does. Unfortunately for us readers, M. only has one short fiction collection but that collection and the stories within won a World Fantasy Award for Best Collection, a World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction, the 2007 Crawford Award, as well as being nominated for a Nebula Award, another World Fantasy award, and an International Horror Guild Award. That’s a pretty reputable resume for any author’s career, and Rickert managed to do all that with just one collection’s worth of stories. Obviously, Rickert is a stickler for quality over quantity.

Either that or she wants to give other authors a chance to get nominated which wouldn’t be surprising given how nice she was when I conducted the interview which, coincidentally, starts after the jump.

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INTERVIEW: Vandana Singh

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

After what feels like forever, I was finally able to get in touch with one of the first authors I approached in my Keeping An Eye On Series. Out of all of the names on the SF Signal Genre Watchlist, Vandana Singh was one of the authors I knew least about and I wanted to correct that. After doing a little digging and reading a few stories, I realized that Vandana was doing some very interesting writing that stood out as unique against the majority of my reading experience. This inspired me to see what the highly regarded author was currently working on and to learn more about her as an author. Unfortunately, I initially had some trouble getting in touch with Vandana and my interview with the author responsible for such brilliant pieces as “Delhi” and “The Wife” was unfortunately put on hold.

However, after a few months trying to track her down, I’ve finally got some answers…

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INTERVIEW: Jason Stoddard

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

This week’s Keeping An Eye On author is poised to have a big 2010. For the past few years, Jason Stoddard has been slowly building a very respectable portfolio in the science fiction circles. His work was impressive enough to catch the eye of Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Strahan, and Gardner Dozois and to stick out in their minds when asked to name the writers of the future by SF Signal. After making a splash in the short fiction markets, Stoddard is publishing not one, but two(!) novels next year. And that in addition to his usual short fiction output. Stoddard is also a member of the generation of authors who have at least partially used fiction websites, blogs, and other forms of internet publishing to establish their name within the genre market. That’s not surprising given his day job which he still maintains despite a blossoming writing career.

Full interview after the jump…

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INTERVIEW: Tim Pratt

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

This week’s Keeping An Eye On Interview is with none other than Tim Pratt. Tim is one of the more established authors of the SF Signal’s watchlist, having published genre work since 1999. Over the past 10 years he has slowly put together a very respectable writing career publishing 5 novels and 2 short story collections. If you’ve been reading these interviews, you know the drill. Lots of reprints in Year’s Best Anthologies, award nominations (among a few wins) and other praise. I’m running out of ways to say it but it’s more of the same with Pratt. High quality writing, and lots of it. If you don’t take my word for it; take Neil Gaiman’s. Pratt beat Gaiman for a Hugo (2007 Hugo for short story “Impossible Dreams”. That doesn’t happen. You could write a short story where Gaiman doesn’t win an award but you’d have to shelf it in the genre section: cause you’re writing fantasy.

But Pratt did the impossible. Let’s see what else he’s been up to…

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INTERVIEW: Alex Irvine

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

I first heard of Alex Irvine through my Star Wars addiction when his name was announced among the writers who were part of the next Del Rey contract. At that time, I hadn’t really heard of him so I did a little more digging into his previous work to set some expectations. Based on what I found, those expectations were set and they were set high. So it came as no surprise when Alex’s name appeared on SF Signal’s Watchlist. Like so many of the authors I’ve interview in the Keeping An Eye On Series, Alex is just beginning what looks to be a long writing career, but already has a few of the awards and honors that aspiring writers dream of. He didn’t have to wait long either as his debut novel, A Scattering of Jades, won several awards including the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 2003. Since then he has gone on to write several more novels as well as some more diverse work, including comic books, non-fiction, and even some ARGs.

I hoped that Alex would spill the info on his secretive Star Wars book but Lucas has a lightsaber to his throat. Instead I had to settle for a great interview full of rabid fans, tree-hugging pinkos, and other information not bound by an NDA. Read on for more!

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INTERVIEW: Laird Barron

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

It’s time for the next installment in the Keeping An Eye On Interview Series. Most of the authors on SF Signal’s Watchlist would be shelved on the SF or Fantasy shelves in the local bookstore. Not Laird Barron. He does his own thing and he does it well. Barron specializes in the terrifying, the occult, the things that live in the dark and go bump in the night. Okay, he writes horror and, quite obviously, he’s a hell of a lot better at it than me. But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Strahan, or Gardner Dozois. Or if you don’t trust any of them as a result of some sort of Lovecraftian paranoia, you can look at the shortlists for the World Fantasy Award, Sturgeon Award, Crawford Award, Shirley Jackson Award, or the International Horror Guild Award. You’ll find his name there as well. Laird’s biggest work so far is probably his first collection, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories but I was pleased to report that he has since sold a second collection as well as a debut novel to be published in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

But now that my lack of authorial talent has scared you into submission, it’s time to see what Laird had to say.

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INTERVIEW: Paolo Bacigalupi

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

I was particularly excited to interview this week’s subject for Keeping An Eye On…: Paolo Bacigalupi. Like all of the authors on SF Signal’s Watchlist, Paolo’s early work has been spectacular. What distinguishes him in my mind, is his skill at writing plausible, provocative, and more-than-slightly disturbing environmentally-themed fiction. In a lot of ways, the next couple of decades will be shaped by the success or failure of the green revolution in the same way that the space race and the computer age influenced the 60s and 80s. Paolo Bacigalupi will be there, setting the bar for genre authors when it comes to predicting the problems and the improvements of the next generations.

There’s a reason why Paolo sits on the top of the Watchlist with no less than 5 nominations.

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INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Bear

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

It’s Monday and that means another edition of Keeping An Eye On…. This week we are keeping one of the prominent female authors on the list, Elizabeth Bear. Now Elizabeth somehow manages to write novels as fast as Jay Lake writes short fiction. Don’t ask me how, just know that I’m jealous. Since 2005, she’s published more than 10 novels and that’s not even counting her spectacular short work. Like so many of the authors of the SF Signal Watchlist, she is a recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and unlike many of our authors she already has 2(!) Hugos to her name for her 2008 short story “Tideline” and her 2009 novelette “Shoggoths In Bloom.” Bear was nominated to the list by the likes of Paula Guran and Gardner Dozois but many more people suggested in the comments that she shouldn’t be eligible. Not because she didn’t deserve it, but because she was already considered one of the genre’s best.

I tend to agree with that assessment but I’m not arguing with the list, I’m just interviewing it. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

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INTERVIEW: Paul Melko

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

This week we are Keeping An Eye On Paul Melko. Like so many of the authors on SF Signal’s Watchlist, Melko has debuted with a bang. His first novel, Singularity’s Ring, was a SciFi essential book and ,even more impressively, he managed to take home the 2009 Locus Award for Best First Novel. Since then he’s published an unrelated second novel, The Walls of the Universe, based on a Hugo-,Nebula-,and Sturgeon-nominated novella of the same name. He’s also got a short story collection out from Fairwood Press, chock full of the best and hard-to-find short fiction Paul has authored. One of the members of the surprisingly large Ohioan SF Revolution, Paul is also one of the relatively newer names of the watchlist and one of the names that SF Signal helped me discover.

Since then, Paul’s been on my Watchlist and it was a pleasure to see what he’s going to be up to in the immediate future. Click through to find out for yourself.


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INTERVIEW: Chris Roberson

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

Chris Roberson is the subject of this week’s Keeping An Eye On… interview. Unlike my first two interviews, Mr. Roberson has had no problem making the leap to novels, releasing books like Michael Phelps wins gold medals. In 2009 alone, Roberson is releasing Three Unbroken, End of the Century, Book of Secrets, and two Warhammer novels. That’s 5 books in 1 year! Not to mention the fact that he also dabbles in comics and manages to crank out the occasional short story from time to time. I only wish I could be that creative. I can write an almost humorous interview introduction once a week, and that’s good for me. Roberson manages to not only write, and not only to write a lot, but to write a lot and write it well. Hmph.

Creative jealousy aside, Chris’s answers are as plentiful as his work so I won’t waste any more space.

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INTERVIEW: Ted Kosmatka

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

In this installment of my Keeping An Eye On… series, I had the pleasure of running a few questions by Ted Kosmatka. Mr. Kosmatka is primarily a short story author, selling pieces to Asimov’s, F&SF, and Cemetary Dance among other places but he also has a couple of novels in the works for those editors looking to buy. Several of his stories have been reprinted in various Year’s Best anthologies in the past few years; probably why he was nominated to the list by Niall Harrison and Jonathan Strahan, not to mention being the first author mentioned by Gardner Dozois himself. Besides his genre work, Ted has also written some normal, boring literary fiction if you are into that non-genre trash. I’ve found that Ted likes to take a slightly darker tone than most authors, as evidenced by some of his answers found below, not to mention the fact he sent a picture of a skull for use in the interview.

But before I lose any more people to failblog.org, here’s the interview:

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INTERVIEW: Benjamin Rosenbaum

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

According to Benjamin Rosenbaum‘s bio, he wanted to be one of three things when he grew up: a scientist (of the mad variety), a superhero, or a writer. Luckily for us, Benjamin didn’t succeed in his death ray prototypes and luckily for him, he decided against exposing himself to lethal levels of radiation, screwed up spiders, or excessive amounts of childhood trauma coupled with an implausibly high inheritance and chiropterophilia. That left him with one option: writing. Which seems to work well enough for him. Well enough for him to get several nominations to the list of genre up-and-comers not to mention being nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, BSFA and Locus awards. Rosenbaum has published over 30 stories and been translated into 14 languages since his debut sale in 2001 to Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, including this year’s Hugo and Locus award nominated piece “True Names” co-written with internet superstar Cory Doctorow. I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Rosenbaum and grilling him for information on his much anticipated novel among other subjects, genre related and not.

Click through to see what Benjamin had to say.

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INTERVIEW: David Moles

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

In this installment of Keeping An Eye On…, David Moles was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding what he has been writing recently and what you need to know about him as an author. He even provided genuine Japanese characters (not sure what they say) for his writing style haiku. Hopefully he refrained from anything offensive.

David Moles has had short stories published in several magazines including Strange Horizons, F&SF, and Asimov’s as well as a few original anthologies, including the most recent Eclipse anthology from Night Shade Books. His work has also been reprinted on a frequent basis in the range of Year’s Best SFF Antholgies published in the last few years. David Moles was nominated to the list by the likes of Johnathan Strahan, Niall Harrison and Gardner Dozois mostly for the potential represented in his short work. I’ve only read a little of Moles work due to a lack of novels and/or anthologies but he has provided plenty of places for me to jump on the bandwagon.

Click through for the full interview.

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INTERVIEW: Jay Lake

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

In this week’s entry in Keeping An Eye On we have yet another author who needs no introduction. Jay Lake, who can write fiction faster than most people can read it, was one of the most commonly suggested authors SF Signal’s Genre Watchlist. I’m guessing anyone who didn’t name him assumed he was too prominent to qualify. Like many of his fellow Watchlisters, Jay Lake won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer; his award coming back in 2004. Since then, he has published several novels (most recently Green), a number of collections, edited a dozen anthologies, and written countless short stories. I’m not kidding about this, look at his bibliography, there are at least 200 stories there. I’m not counting that. It goes without saying that more than a few of these works have been reprinted in anthologies such as Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year and several editions of Gardner Dozois’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction.

Click through for the interview itself…

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INTERVIEW: Cory Doctorow

photo by Joi Ito,
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

[Editor’s Note: A while back, SF Signal published a Mind Meld feature on Tomorrow’s Big Genre Stars. Patrick at Stomping on Yeti has been profiling these writers and has agreed to cross-post them here.]

This week’s featured author in my 21-part Keeping An Eye On… series probably doesn’t need an introduction. Cory Doctorow, internet superstar, is arguably the best known of the 21 authors on this list. Cory Doctorow won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer way back in the year 2000 and followed that up with the Locus Award for Best First Novel three years later with Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Cory’s latest book, Little Brother, garnered both a Hugo nomination for Best Novel and a spot on the New York Times bestseller List. Besides his fiction, Cory is also a vocal technology activist, most notably on the subjects of digital rights management and other copyright/content related issues. He is also a well respected journalist and blogger on these here interwebz, serving as a co-editor of boingboing.net, which anyone who stumbled across this blog should already be aware of.

I think that’s too much introduction for an SF author who needs none, so onto the interview itself.

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