We’re pleased to once again bring you an excerpt, this time from James Lovegrove’s new novel, Sherlock Holmes: Gods of War (available this week from Titan Books)!

Here’s what the book is about:

1913. The clouds of war are gathering. The world’s great empires vie for supremacy. Europe is in turmoil, a powder keg awaiting a spark. A body is discovered on the shore below Beachy Head, just a mile from Sherlock Holmes’s retirement cottage. The local police are satisfied that it’s a suicide. The victim, a young man, recently suffered a disappointment in love, and Beachy Head is notorious as a place where the desperate and depressed leap to their deaths. Holmes, however, suspects murder. As he and Watson investigate, they uncover a conspiracy with shocking ramifications.

Read on for an excerpt!

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Cover & Synopsis: WORLD OF FIRE by James Lovegrove

Check out the cover and synopsis for James Lovegrove’s upcoming novel World of Fire.

Here’s the synopsis (a closer look at the cover appears below):
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BOOK REVIEW: Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove

REVIEW SUMMARY: Possibly Lovegrove’s best yet.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A team of godlike super-powered beings based on the ten avatars of Vishnu from Hindu mythology is assembled, but are they in fact a harbinger of apocalypse?

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Original take on superheroes, exploration of a vivid and colorful religion, sympathetic protagonist, deft plotting, great action.
CONS: Not enough development of the Avatars.
BOTTOM LINE: A combination of science fiction and mythology, superheroes and deities, further solidifying Lovegrove’s title as Godpunk King.

I’ve been a devoted fan of James Lovegrove since I first read The Age of Zeus, his second Pantheon novel. Each year I anticipate the release of the next Pantheon novel. As far as running series go, this is one of my favorite. Six novels and three novellas (collected in one omnibus) in and Lovegrove continues to thrill. There’s no over-arcing plot and no recurring characters. It’s a series united in theme rather than narrative, a technique that results in a cohesive whole while continually managing to change up the dynamic that makes the Pantheon novels so compelling. With Lovegrove novels you always know what to expect and yet he still manages to subvert these expectations. You’re always going to get solid prose, dry English humor, a gripping mix of science fiction and mythology, and ultimately a clever plot. Age of Shiva is tied for my favorite novel in the series. Here’s why…
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Available Now on Amazon Kindle: KAIJU RISING: AGE OF MONSTERS (Read an Excerpt)

Hey all! I’m wearing two hats at the moment — one as the co-creator/editor of Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters from Ragnarok Publications and one as SF Signal contributor. As co-creator/editor of Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters I’m proud to announce that the anthology is now available on the Amazon Kindle store for immediate purchase! As an SF Signal contributor I have to stress how awesome this book is — you really need to read it! For just $4.99 you can get 25 thrilling stories, accompanied by 25 awesome pieces of interior art. By funding the project through Kickstarter (achieving 185% of our initial goal) Ragnarok Publications was able to assemble a one-of-a-kind anthology featuring authors such as Peter Clines (Ex-Heroes), Larry Correia (Monster Hunter International), James Lovegrove (Age of Zeus), Gini Koch as J.C. Koch (Touched by an Alien) and more. The interior art was provided by the superb Robert Elrod and the imaginative Chuck Lukacs. To top it all off comes a tie-in story with Colossal Kaiju Combat from Sunstone Games, written by New York Times bestselling author James Swallow. All this comes wrapped in a beautiful cover provided by the legendary Bob Eggleton. That’s a lot of awesome for just $4.99 but if you’re not yet convinced here’s an exclusive excerpt from “The Banner of the Bent Cross” by Peter Clines…
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[GUEST POST] James Lovegrove Defines Godpunk


James Lovegrove has been shortlisted for numerous awards and is the author of more than 40 books., including Provender Gleed, the New York Times bestselling Pantheon series – so far The Age Of Ra, The Age Of Zeus, The Age Of Odin, Age Of Aztec and Age Of Voodoo – and Redlaw and Redlaw: Red Eye, the first two volumes in a trilogy about a policeman charged with protecting humans from vampires and vice versa. Shortly to come is The Stuff Of Nightmares, the first of two Sherlock Holmes novels. Out this month is a collection of three novellas, Age Of Godpunk.

What is Godpunk?

by James Lovegrove

You’d think I, of all people, would have the answer to that, given that godpunk fiction is probably what I’m best known for. My series of Pantheon novels is what inspired David Moore, desk editor at my publisher Solaris, and Pornokitsch’s Jared Shurin to coin the term godpunk jointly. It’s very easy to stick the suffix “punk” on the end of another word in an effort to make something sound cool, and it doesn’t always work; it certainly doesn’t always take. However, “god + punk” is an exception to the rule, I believe. It’s spiky and dichotomous, a clash of opposites, almost an oxymoron. As a descriptor for a subgenre, it fits, and that’s what counts.

So others christened it. I write it. What is it?
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MIND MELD: The Future of Humans and AI

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Recently, a group of futurists predicted that artificial intelligence is a deadlier threat to humanity than any sort of natural disaster, nuclear war, or large objects falling from the sky. In an article by Ross Anderson at AeonMagazine.com, David Dewey, a research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute says, concerning the human brain and probability “If you had a machine that was designed specifically to make inferences about the world, instead of a machine like the human brain, you could make discoveries like that much faster.” He stated that “An AI might want to do certain things with matter in order to achieve a goal, things like building giant computers, or other large-scale engineering projects. Those things might involve intermediary steps, like tearing apart the Earth to make huge solar panels.” He also talked about how programming an AI with empathy wouldn’t be easy, that the steps it might take to “maximize human happiness”, for example, are not things that we might consider acceptable, but to an AI would seem exceedingly efficient.

Of course, this leads into much more complex discussion, and the possibilities with AI are vast and varied.

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: What is your take on the future of humans and AI? Is it positive, negative, both?

Here’s what they said…

Larry Niven
Until Larry Niven is the author of Ringworld, the co-author of The Mote in God’s Eye and Lucifer’s Hammer, the editor of the Man-Kzin War series, and has written or co-authored over 50 books. He is a five-time winner of the Hugo Award, along with a Nebula and numerous others.

  • If you make an intelligent being, you must give it civil rights.
  • On the other hand, you cannot give the vote to a computer program. “One man, one vote” — and how many copies of the program would you need to win an election? Programs can merge or can generate subprograms.
  • Machines can certainly become a part of a human. Our future may see a merging of humans and machines.
  • Or all of the above. Keep reading science fiction. We always get there first.

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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

I recently watched The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb. I really enjoyed the movie, especially after the horrendous Spider-Man 3, but I know that a lot of people felt that the reboot came too soon. With this on my mind I thought I’d get some feedback from authors regarding the topic of reboots.

The question posed to this week’s panelists:

Q: When are reboots necessary, if ever? What properties could use a reboot? What properties should be protected from reboot? What are some of the best and worst reboots?

Here’s what they said…

Francis Knight
Francis Knight was born and lives in Sussex, England. When not living in her own head, she enjoys SF&F geekery, WWE geekery, teaching her children Monty Python quotes, and boldly going and seeking out new civilizations.

Necessary? Hmm, I’m not sure ever really necessary. Remakes either. I think you really only want to start playing with established works if you’re sure that you can bring something new (and better!) to it. Expand the characters, the universe. In that sense, I don’t think any project should be protected from reboots, if it has the potential to become better and richer for the experience, say something new.

What properties could do with a reboot? Well, perhaps Rambo? With a younger actor, as a veteran of Iraq/Afghanistan? Could work…preferably with less jingoism though, get it right back to ‘Troubled soldier tying to make sense of the aftermath’. Highlander would be superb – we could not have number 2 as well! Blade maybe could do with an overhaul, and Spawn. I’d have said Mad Max and Robocop too, but they’re being/have been done. Perhaps try again on Mad Max

For me, some of the best already done are the Batman series, the new Star Trek (I love how they expanded on our knowledge of characters we thought we knew inside out, and then put them in new and interesting positions), which also goes for the Bond reboot. I also liked the new Dredd. What didn’t work for me? The Conan reboot, Mad Max’s Doomsday… Remake/extensions of old franchises, Prometheus and The Thing prequel just didn’t work for me. The originals (Okay, the Carpenter version of The Thing was a remake itself) were so good, that they would have been better leaving well enough alone.

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SF Tidbits for 9/29/09

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