Books Archives

Today, we’re pleased to bring you a short story that appears in the Helen Marshall’s new collection from ChiZine, Gifts for the One Who Comes After . Helen’s work has been nominated for the Aurora Award from the Canadian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, and the Sydney J. Bounds Award from the British Fantasy Society, which she won in 2013. This is just one of the many stories in the collection, which is described thusly:

Ghost thumbs. Microscopic dogs. One very sad can of tomato soup. Helen Marshall’s second collection offers a series of twisted surrealities that explore the legacies we pass on to our children. A son seeks to reconnect with his father through a telescope that sees into the past. A young girl discovers what lies on the other side of her mother’s bellybutton. Death’s wife prepares for a very special funeral. In Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Marshall delivers eighteen tales of love and loss that cement her as a powerful voice in dark fantasy and the New Weird. Dazzling, disturbing, and deeply moving.

Here’s Helen’s marvelous story…
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Mythic Delirium has posted the table of contents for the next issue, with cover art by Jan van Kessel:

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Check out the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler.

Here’s the synopsis:
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James L. Sutter is the Managing Editor for Paizo Publishing and a co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. He is the author of the novels Death’s Heretic and The Redemption Engine, the former of which was #3 on Barnes & Noble’s list of the Best Fantasy Releases of 2011, as well as a finalist for the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel and a 2013 Origins Award. He’s written numerous short stories for such publications as PodCastle, Apex Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the #1 Amazon best seller Machine of Death. His anthology Before They Were Giants pairs the first published short stories of science fiction and fantasy luminaries with new interviews and writing advice from the authors themselves. In addition, he’s published a wealth of award-winning gaming material for both Dungeons & Dragons and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Find more essays and free stories at jameslsutter.com, or let him know all the ways he’s wrong on Twitter at @jameslsutter.

What Authors Owe Fans

by James L. Sutter

In 2009, Neil Gaiman posted the now-famous blog entry “Entitlement Issues…,” in which he declared that “George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.” This was in the context of a larger statement about fan entitlement and what authors of series owe their fans, of which I think the most pertinent part reads:

“You’re complaining about George doing other things than writing the books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series was a contract with him: that you would pay over your ten dollars, and George for his part would spend every waking hour until the series was done, writing the rest of the books for you. No such contract existed. You were paying your ten dollars for the book you were reading… When you see other people complaining that George R.R. Martin has been spotted doing something other than writing the book they are waiting for, explain to them, more politely than I did the first time, the simple and unanswerable truth: George R. R. Martin is not working for you.

In the rest of the post, Neil argues both that authors need downtime to let their brains recharge and-more interestingly-that the author-audience transaction is in fact complete as soon as a reader pays money for a book, regardless of whether it’s part of a series. I don’t want to put words in Mr. Gaiman’s mouth, yet presumably if George Martin lost interest and simply never produced the last book of A Song of Ice and Fire (or pulled a Dark Tower and took 22 years to finish the series), Neil would say that’s the artist’s prerogative.
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Books Received: September 22, 2014

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.
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Here’s a trio of books I’m looking forward to…

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Haruki Murakami’s hasa new short novel coming out in December. Here’s what The Strange Library is about:
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In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve.

Today’s recommendations are by Sarah Knight. Sarah Knight is a senior editor at Simon & Schuster, where, in addition to her regular S&S list, she also oversees the new speculative fiction imprint Simon451, which launches its first set of titles in October 2014 (among them Gillian Anderson’s debut SF thriller, A Vision of Fire). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their ill-behaved cat, Doug, and goes by @mcsnugz on Twitter.

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Amazon has the cover and synopsis for the upcoming omnibus Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, comprised of Annihilation, Authority and Acceptance.

Check this beauty out after the jump.
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You can follow Rachel S. Cordasco on her bookish adventures at Bookishlywitty.blogspot.com and Bookriot.com.

Haunting, mesmerizing, moving: these are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance. Each novel is under 400 pages, and each packs into it so much psychological, emotional, philosophical, and ecological inquiry that you start to think that they must be huge, hulking volumes that should make your bookshelves cave in.

Now, you’ve probably seen a million reviews of this trilogy, and rightly so, for it deserves recognition and invites fascinating discussions. Therefore, instead of recapping the story or outlining the plot, I’m going to focus on three major mysteries/questions/problems in these novels and why they’re so compelling.

Oh, and by the way, there may be spoilers here. I’m not guaranteeing anything.
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Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog this week, I take a look at the latest body-swapping science fiction and fantasy books in an article titled Science Fiction Lets You to Slip Into Something More Comfortable.

Check it out, won’t you?

As part of a $1.99 and Up” promotion for some of their “cops and robbers” sf/f books, Open Road Media has produced the following video in which “William Shatner, Liz Williams, Walter Mosley, and Simon R. Green talk about the popularity of the detective-style story set in a fantastical world—cops and robbers, science fiction style.”

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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber.

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Book Review: SNUFF by Terry Pratchett

Snuff is one of the newest of the many books in Terry Pratchett’s excellent Discworld series. Within the larger series there are subseries which follow particular characters. In general, you can pick any Discworld book off the shelf and expect to be able to follow it, but some can be better appreciated if you know the character history from the previous books.

Snuff is the newest book following Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch Sam Vimes. In Sam Vimes’s first books he began as a poor beat cop walking the streets in his cardboard-soled boots as one of the three city watchmen. Over the other books he became Commander of the ever-growing City Watch, has become a trusted advisor of the Patrician (the semi-benevolent tyrant) and a diplomat, and started a family when he married Lady Sybil Ramkin and had a son whom they call Young Sam.
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Starting now, SF Signal readers can get 2 of Henry Kuttner’s sf classics in eBook format for one low price! Read on to see how you can get Robots Have No Tails and The Best of Henry Kuttner (collecting 17 of his short fiction stories) for only $2.99!

Here are the individual book descriptions:

ROBOTS HAVE NO TAILS by Henry Kuttner

“[A] pomegranate writer: popping with seeds—full of ideas.” —Ray Bradbury

A complete collection of his Galloway Gallegher stories from the Hugo nominated master of science fiction.

In this complete collection, Kuttner is back with Galloway Gallegher, his most beloved character in the stories that helped make him famous. Gallegher is a binge-drinking scientist who’s a genius when drunk and totally clueless sober. Hounded by creditors and government officials, he wakes from each bender to discover a new invention designed to solve all his problems—if only he knew how it worked…

Add in a vain and uncooperative robot assistant, a heckling grandfather, and a host of uninvited guests—from rabbit-like aliens to time-traveling mafia lawyers to his own future corpse—and Gallegher has more on his hands than even he can handle. Time for a drink!

 
 
THE BEST OF HENRY KUTTNER by Henry Kuttner

“[A] pomegranate writer: popping with seeds—full of ideas.” —Ray Bradbury

From the renowned, Hugo-nominated titan of science fiction comes a collection of his best short stories.

In seventeen classic stories, Henry Kuttner creates a unique galaxy of vain, protective, and murderous robots; devilish angels; and warm and angry aliens. These stories include
“Mimsy Were the Borogoves” — the inspiration for New Line Cinema’s major motion picture The Last Mimzy — as well as “Two-Handed Engine”, “The Proud Robot”, “The Misguided Halo”, “The Voice of the Lobster”, “Exit the Professor”, “The Twonky”, “A Gnome There Was”, “The Big Night”, “Nothing But Gingerbread Left”, “The Iron Standard”, “Cold War”, “Or Else”, “Endowment Policy”, “Housing Problem”, “What You Need”, and “Absalom”.

Here’s how you can get these two great titles for one low price — but act fast! This offer expires in two weeks…
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Beth Cato resides in the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ. Her husband Jason, son Nicholas, and crazy cat keep her busy, but she still manages to squeeze in time for writing and other activities that help preserve her sanity. She is originally from Hanford, CA, a lovely city often pungent with cow manure. Her debut novel is The Clockwork Dagger.

Beyond Historical Fiction: Fear, Fantasy, and How I Came to Steampunk

by Beth Cato

I was eight years old when I fell for historical fiction. Laura Ingalls Wilder was my gateway drug to endless hours of medieval romps and pioneer adventures. I hungrily sought out all the Rosemary Sutcliff and Patricia Beatty books to be found.

Beatty’s books–in particular, her Hannalee books–pulled me into a stint of fascination with the American Civil War. In 5th grade, I won the school district’s annual library essay contest, writing that I wanted to grow up and write books about the Civil War, maybe even from a horse’s viewpoint.

In my teens, my interest turned towards fantasy, but my desire to write historical never went away. For years, I entertained the idea of writing an epic fantasy based heavily on the Inquisition. I would write a page or two and browse books on the subject matter, but I never made a serious effort.

The reason: fear.
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John Scalzi is on fire!

Not too long ago, news broke that his novel Redshirts was getting a limited run tv series, as well as his Old Man’s War novels. Now comes word from Variety that Legendary TV has acquired the rights to adapt Scalzi’s new novel Lock In into a television pilot for a potential series .Not much else is known at this point — this is still in the very early stages.

The plot of the near-future thriller Lock In revolves around a disease that renders people in a mannequin-like state of immobility, but otherwise aware of their surroundings. Technology is developed that allows those who are infected to inhabit the bodies of others and live through them, a situation that sets the stage for a police procedural.

Here’s the book description:
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Right now, you can get Paul Di Filippo‘s new eBook, Chasing the Queen of Sassi, for the low, low price of free!

Here’s what it’s about:

A science fiction story set in one of the oldest cities in the world.

After his wife’s death, Rupert decides to change his life and start your journey: he wants to see Matera again, and ends up loving it so much that he decides to move there. But the city is mysterious: who is the beautiful Daeria Bruno that appears and disappears without a trace? And how will the cucibocca’s curse affect his life? In a dizzying series of time travels, Rupert will reveal legendary secrets, being at the center of a timeless story.

Paul Di Filippo is a Rhode Island native, resident in Lovecraft’s Providence for the past forty years with his partner of that same period, Deborah Newton. He sold his first story in 1977, and since then has sold over 200 more, as well as several novels, resulting in some thirty books. He hopes he is at the halfway point in his career.

It’s available on Amazon, Amazon UK, Nook and iTunes

Night Shade Books has posted the table of contents for Rick Wilber’s upcoming baseball-themed anthology Field of Fantasies:

Here’s the book description:

A Fantastic Anthology Combining the Love of Science Fiction with Our National Pastime

Of all the sports played across the globe, none has more curses and superstitions than baseball, America’s national pastime.

Field of Fantasies delves right into that superstition with short stories written by several key authors about baseball and the supernatural. Here you’ll encounter ghostly apparitions in the stands, a strangely charming vampire double-play combination, one fan who can call every shot and another who can see the past, a sad alternate-reality for the game’s most famous player, unlikely appearances on the field by famous personalities from Stephen Crane to Fidel Castro, a hilariously humble teenage phenom, and much more. In this wonderful anthology are stories from such award-winning writers as:

  • Stephen King and Stewart O’Nan
  • Jack Kerouac
  • Karen Joy Fowler
  • Rod Serling
  • W. P. Kinsella
  • And many more!

Never has a book combined the incredible with great baseball fiction like Field of Fantasies. This wide-ranging collection reaches from some of the earliest classics from the pulp era and baseball’s golden age, all the way to material appearing here for the first time in a print edition. Whether you love the game or just great fiction, these stories will appeal to all, as the writers in this anthology bring great storytelling of the strange and supernatural to the plate, inning after inning.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Check out the appealing cover and the synopsis for the upcoming YA novel Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (sequel to Seraphina).
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