Here’s a trio of books coming out soon that piqued my interest.
REVIEW SUMMARY: Hot on the heels of a weekend spent at ConQuest 44 in Kansas City, MO, which featured both George R.R. Martin and Artist Guest of Honor John Picacio, I review the latest Wild Cards stories acquired and edited for Tor.com by Martin himself. Artist John Picacio provides the accompanying art for both novelettes.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In the Wild Cards world of Jokers and Aces, two troubled individuals attempt to come to grips with their genetic traits and a world in which they are not entirely welcome.
PROS: Each author captures a strong sense of place; characters whose voices fit well; the first story sets up the Wild Cards world for those unfamiliar with the concept.
CONS: Cherie Priest’s story could have stretched on longer for a more fulfilling ending; Paul Cornell’s style was initially jarring until you realize just how well it fits the protagonist he created.
BOTTOM LINE: I am one of the newbies I referred to above. These two stories were my first foray into the Wild Cards universe and I knew next to nothing about this shared world until I read these stories. I was drawn to read these because of the serendipity mentioned in the opening and also because I have long been a fan of Priest’s writing and follow Paul Cornell on the SF Squeecast and thus have been curious about his writing. Both stories are told with the precision and skill of seasoned authors and, as hand-picked representatives of GRRM’s creation, they do a really nice job of making an uniformed reader like me sit up and take notice. As stand alone stories they each have strengths, but they also have weaknesses that I believe are more a product of being a part of a long-standing series than anything else. Overall these two stories are a good introduction to the world of the Wild Cards and I suspect fans of the series will have much to like in this new material.
Check out the cover art and synopsis of Cherie Priest’ upcoming Clockwork Century novel Fiddlehead.
Here’s the synopsis:
In episode 162 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester recorded a live panel at MileHiCon 44 in Denver Colorado on Saturday, October 20th, 2012. Panelists were: Connie Willis, John E. Stith, Nathan Lowell and Cherie Priest, who was also the Guest of Honor for MHC 44.
Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt sit down with Cherie Priest (Boneshaker, Dreadnought)…
In episode 141 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester gathers a pantheon of Steampunk greats to discuss the genre.
Zack Parsons is a Chicago-area writer known for his acerbic humor at Something Awful, his non-fiction books like My Tank is Fight! and his contributions to various compilations. His debut sci-fi novelLiminal States, described by author Cory Doctorow as “vivid, and relentless, masterfully plotted,” was released April of 2012.
Book, with Occasional Music
When I set out to write my genre-spanning debut novel, Liminal States, I wanted to music to shape the outcome of my creative process. Ending with a free downloadable companion soundtrack from my friend, Conelrad, was something I hoped would excite readers and enhance their experience.
Listening to music while writing was vital for me. It allowed me to shut out what was going on, no matter where I was at the time, and depending on the music, it could serve as an inspiration for what I was writing. My obsession with scoring every moment made me curious about how more experienced authors of speculative fiction use music.
So I asked.
REVIEW SUMMARY: Every bit as good as a steampunk/zombie mash-up should be…and then some.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Briar Wilkes tries to find her son, Zeke, who enters the walled up, zombie-ridden city of Seattle to clear his father’s name.
PROS: Riveting adventure story; great characters; perfectly captures the flavors of the steampunk and zombie subgenres.
CONS: Some story elements might seem clichéd, but that’s very small potatoes next to the entertainment value this book provides.
BOTTOM LINE: This is a wonderful setting that demands more stories. I can’t wait.