Here’s a trio of books coming out soon that I’d love to devour.

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SYNOPSIS: The cryogentically frozen pilot of a slower than light attempt to reach the stars awakens in a startling future more than 12 millennia hence.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW
PROS: Imaginative post-Scarcity worldbuilding.
CONS: Weak and undeveloped characterization; Plotting and pacing issues.
VERDICT: A disappointing return to novels for the author.

The Sleeper Awakes is a common trope in science fiction. A form of one way time travel, it allows characters from or relatively close to our present to bear witness to futures they otherwise never could. Be it “The Marching Morons” by Cyril Kornbluth, or Buck Rogers, the man from the present travels into the future by means of something like cryogenic suspension, and there proves key to the success of that future time. As a bonus, the trope allows the reader to have a viewpoint character to identify with as he/she interacts with the future world.

I was extremely excited to read Roberson’s return to novels with Further: Beyond the Threshold, where the author has his own take on the genre.

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My next piece on the Kirkus Review Blog is on Elric: The Balance Lost Volume One.  Chris Roberson, author of Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, iZombie, and the new science fiction novel Further: Beyond the Threshold, and illustrator Francesco Biagini, pick up the tale of the 428th Emperor of Melniboné for a comic series from Boom! Studios.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

Talk to a fan of the sword and sorcery genre, and it won’t take long for the conversation to turn to Elric, the 428th Emperor of Melniboné. With alabaster skin, and wielding the soul-eating sword Stormbringer, Elric is the Eternal Champion, someone who is chosen to fight for the cosmic Balance. In Moorcock’s stories, Elric is one of many such Champions, who exist in every different version of reality throughout the multiverse. Each Champion must fight for the balance between Law and Chaos, two opposing forces locked in an eternal struggle for dominance. Should either side win, all would be lost.

Check out the full article over on the Kirkus Reviews blog.

SF/F fans love to talk about their favorite books being adapted for film. But what about television? Are there books better suited for a television series? We asked this week’s panelists (inspired by a suggestion from James Wallace Harris)…

Q: What SF/F book would make a great television series? How would you adapt it for the small screen?

Here’s what they said…

Nancy Kress
Nancy Kress is the author of over 20 books of SF, fantasy, and writing advice. Her latest is Steal Across the Sky. Her fiction has won three Nebulas, a Hugo, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.

My choice for a TV miniseries would be More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon. Since the book is already divided into three distinct sections, it could be presented as three two-hour episodes. It focuses on character rather than on special effects, which is good for the small screen. Finally — it’s a wonderful story.

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REVIEW SUMMARY: Tarzan + Doc Savage + Tintin = 100% pure fun for all ages

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Born on a hidden island and raised to be the perfect physical and intellectual specimen by his father. Tom Strong has spent the better part of a century defending the people of Millennium City from all manner of threats. Along with his family–which in addition to his ageless wife and daughter includes a talking gorilla and a pneumatic robot–Tom battles high-tech Aztecs from another dimension, Nazi Amazons, a primordial slime-monster from before the dawn of history, his mad scientist nemesis, and many more, while traveling to other times, other worlds, and other planes of existence.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: When making Tom Strong, Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse were two talents working at the height of their abilities, producing the comics that all of us wish we could have read when we were kids. And that’s not even taking into account the all-star lineup of guest artists.

CONS: Tom Strong may not be the most sophisticated comic Alan Moore has ever written, and may lack the gravity of his more critically acclaimed work, but it is without a doubt the most fun of any of his books.

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended for anyone who doesn’t hate goodness.

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SF Tidbits for 10/13/09

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Note:: The arrival of relatives is imminent! Posting (especially Tidbit posting) may be light for the next 10 days or so.)

Free Excerpt 5/5: Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson


Here’s the final installment of a free excerpt from Chris Roberson’s latest book, Book of Secrets, available from Angry Robot Books. (See also: Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.) The novel is described as follows:

Reporter Spencer Finch is embroiled in the hunt for a missing book, encountering along the way cat burglars and mobsters, hackers and monks. At the same time, he’s trying to make sense of the legacy left him by his late grandfather, a chest of what appear to be magazines from the golden age of pulp fiction, and even earlier.

Following his nose, Finch gradually uncovers a mystery involving a lost Greek play, secret societies, generations of masked vigilantes…and an entire secret history of mankind.

Book of Secrets

by Chris Roberson

(…Continued)

4

Through Martenson, the Black Hand learned that the meeting between Dupree and the Talon was to take place that night, at the edge of Golden Gate Park. When the hour came, the Black Hand was in place, this time with twin .45 automatics at the ready.

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Free Excerpt 4/5: Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson


Here’s Part 4 (of 5) of a free excerpt from Chris Roberson’s latest book, Book of Secrets, available from Angry Robot Books. (See also: Parts 1, 2, and 3.) The novel is described as follows:

Reporter Spencer Finch is embroiled in the hunt for a missing book, encountering along the way cat burglars and mobsters, hackers and monks. At the same time, he’s trying to make sense of the legacy left him by his late grandfather, a chest of what appear to be magazines from the golden age of pulp fiction, and even earlier.

Following his nose, Finch gradually uncovers a mystery involving a lost Greek play, secret societies, generations of masked vigilantes…and an entire secret history of mankind.

Book of Secrets

by Chris Roberson

(…Continued)

“The Talon’s Curse”

by Walter Reece

(originally appeared in the September, 1939 issue of The Black Hand Mysteries)

1

The blood curdling scream tearing across the night air told Richmond Taylor one of two things: someone had just been killed, or someone was about to be. He didn’t care for either option.

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Free Excerpt 3/5: Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson


Here’s Part 3 (of 5) of a free excerpt from Chris Roberson’s latest book, Book of Secrets, available from Angry Robot Books. (See also: Parts 1 and 2.) The novel is described as follows:

Reporter Spencer Finch is embroiled in the hunt for a missing book, encountering along the way cat burglars and mobsters, hackers and monks. At the same time, he’s trying to make sense of the legacy left him by his late grandfather, a chest of what appear to be magazines from the golden age of pulp fiction, and even earlier.

Following his nose, Finch gradually uncovers a mystery involving a lost Greek play, secret societies, generations of masked vigilantes…and an entire secret history of mankind.

Book of Secrets

by Chris Roberson

(…Continued)

The law offices of O’Connor, Riley, and Vasquez were located in a high rise in the heart of downtown, a glass and steel obelisk rising some thirty stories into the smog. I had visited the offices only once, during high school, when the venerable R.M. O’Connor represented me against charges of breaking and entering as a favor to my grandfather. I ended up with a suspended sentence from the court, a stony silence from my grandfather, and a two hour lecture on my failure to meet expectations from R.M. O’Connor. I had seen him only twice after that, when he had come to our house on business, and I learned quickly to be elsewhere when he was around.

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Free Excerpt 2/5: Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson


Here’s Part 2 (of 5) of a free excerpt from Chris Roberson’s latest book, Book of Secrets, available from Angry Robot Books. (See also: Part 1.) The novel is described as follows:

Reporter Spencer Finch is embroiled in the hunt for a missing book, encountering along the way cat burglars and mobsters, hackers and monks. At the same time, he’s trying to make sense of the legacy left him by his late grandfather, a chest of what appear to be magazines from the golden age of pulp fiction, and even earlier.

Following his nose, Finch gradually uncovers a mystery involving a lost Greek play, secret societies, generations of masked vigilantes…and an entire secret history of mankind.

Book of Secrets

by Chris Roberson

(…Continued)

I pulled into Houston just before noon, and with only a bit of trouble found the address of Stiles’ office. It was in a squat, three-story building just off of downtown, in what once must have been a fashionable neighborhood. The sprawl and urban flight had left it behind like an abandoned toy in a war-zone, though, and I thought twice about leaving my car parked on the street. Figuring Logion would pick up the tab for any incidental damage, I walked in the front door.

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Free Excerpt 1/5: Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson


Here’s Part 1 (of 5) of a free excerpt from Chris Roberson’s latest book, Book of Secrets, available from Angry Robot Books. The novel is described as follows:

Reporter Spencer Finch is embroiled in the hunt for a missing book, encountering along the way cat burglars and mobsters, hackers and monks. At the same time, he’s trying to make sense of the legacy left him by his late grandfather, a chest of what appear to be magazines from the golden age of pulp fiction, and even earlier.

Following his nose, Finch gradually uncovers a mystery involving a lost Greek play, secret societies, generations of masked vigilantes…and an entire secret history of mankind.

Book of Secrets

by Chris Roberson

My brother and I once met at a bar, and fell to talking about family. Parents, kids, relatives, the whole sick crew. He took issue with the idea about children being some link to the future, our bid at immortality. Parents, he says, are our true link to eternity. In each of us is a little bit of each of our parents, literally and figuratively, and in each of our parents a bit of theirs, and so on and so forth. All the way back to the Garden of Eden or the Primordial Ooze, depending upon your politics. Looking at our parents reminds us of eternity, he went on, because in them we can see everything that came before. Our parents remind us of the steaming piles of history it took to get to the present moment – in our case, the two of us into that bar on that night at that particular moment. Considering we hadn’t looked at our parents since my brother and I were both five years old, watching their caskets being lowered into the ground, shuffling our feet and wishing it would stop raining, it was somewhat surprising. But that’s my brother for you.

What that has to do with anything I’m not sure, except to say that it concerns family and eternity, two things which factor greatly into the events of the past week. It began in the bleary-eyed hours of the morning, with a phone in one hand and a telegram in the other, and ended with me watching the setting sun, the secret history of mankind clutched to my chest.

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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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SF Tidbits for 8/8/09

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SF Tidbits for 8/4/09

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SF Tidbits for 7/26/09

  • Comic Book Resources interviews Chris Roberson (I, Zombie) and profiles Charlie Huston and his work on the upcoming comic Deathlok. Sez Houston: “While the ’90s versions of Deathlok mixed superhero elements with science fiction ones, Huston’s series is strictly a science fiction story. ‘This is science fiction in the broadest possible sense,’ Huston stated. ‘It’s not Hard Sci Fi, where you take a science concept and try to extrapolate it to its natural conclusion. It’s two-fisted, pulp-adventure, science fiction.'”
  • Teresa Nielsen Hayden talks about the original inventor of the slidewalk. No, it’s not Heinlein. YouTube links included!
  • Real Science: Hubble reawakens, snaps image of Jupiter scar, created when comet or asteroid plunged into Jupiter’s atmosphere.
  • Dumb Little Man lists Eight Reasons to Read Fiction.
  • Genre film dominate Speckyboy’s lists of 24 Lego Stop Motion Films Mimicking Cool Movies Scenes. Here’s the Lego trailer for The Dark Knight:
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