REVIEW SUMMARY: A strong, character-focused story that serves as an excellent introduction to the Pathfinder universe

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS:: Salim Ghadafar, reluctant minion of a Goddess of Death, investigates a set of missing souls, and so becomes caught up in machinations ranging from Heaven to Hell and the mortal plane between.

MY REVIEW:
PROS:: Strong, focused characterization; intriguing and diverse settings.
CONS: A couple of subplots don’t hold up quite as well as the rest of the book.
BOTTOM LINE: Solid, entertaining fiction that works for both those already familiar with the Pathfinder universe and newcomers.

Read the rest of this entry

In episode 257 of the SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester sits down with author/editor James L. Sutter.

Read the rest of this entry

REVIEW: Pathfinder Volume 1: Dark Waters Rising

Over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog today, I take a look at Paizo and Dynamite’s Comic Collection: Pathfinder Volume 1: Dark Waters Rising.

From the post:

With an introduction by Paizo Publisher Erik Mona, Pathfinder Volume 1: Dark Waters Rising, launches the legendary heroes of Paizo’s role playing game system, Pathfinder Tales, into the comic book format with a bang. Utilizing the classic group of adventurers trope, Dark Waters Rising brings together the warrior, Valeros, sorceress Seoni, wizard Ezren, elven rogue Merisiel, dwarven ranger Harsk and cleric Kyra, to protect the town of Sandpoint from a growing Goblin infestation.  Set in the world of Golarion, the book captures the Pathfinder setting quite nicely, painting a diverse and rich world full of mysteries to be solved and gold to be earned – if you’re brave of heart. All the things you would expect are here, including Goblins, evil sorcerers, quests, taverns (and tavern brawls), underground labyrinths, giant spiders, magic, and adventure. Lots of adventure.

Interested? You should be! But to read the rest of the review, you’re gonna have to click on over to the Kirkus Blog and send me cookies.  Lots and lots of cookies… (no bagels!)

Wendy Wagner on The Functional Nerds Podcast

Wendy Wagner, author of Skinwalkers, joins John Anealio and Patrick Hester this week on The Functional Nerds Podcast.

Listen below, or at The Functional Nerds, or subscribe to The Functional Nerds Podcast through iTunes.

Read the rest of this entry

KING OF CHAOS by Dave Gross (Free Excerpt and Worldwide Giveaway!)

Courtesy of Paizo publishing, SF Signal is pleased to present this extract from King of Chaos by Dave Gross. There’s also a worldwide giveaway!

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Here is what the book is about:

After a century of imprisonment, demons have broken free of the wardstones surrounding the Worldwound. As fiends flood south into civilized lands, Count Varian Jeggare and his hellspawn bodyguard Radovan must search through the ruins of a fallen nation for the blasphemous text that opened the gate to the Abyss in the first place-and which might hold the key to closing it. In order to succeed, however, the heroes will need to join forces with pious crusaders, barbaric local warriors, and even one of the legendary god callers. It’s a race against time as the companions fight their way across a broken land, facing off against fiends, monsters, and a vampire intent on becoming the god of blood-but will unearthing the dangerous book save the world, or destroy it completely? From best-selling author Dave Gross comes a new adventure set against the backdrop of the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Read on for a free excerpt and giveaway details…

Read the rest of this entry

BOOK REVIEW: Liar’s Blade by Tim Pratt

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A rogue-ish hero and his intelligent sword hire onto a quest. Their employers are looking for a lost relic, and our pair are looking for gold any way they can find it.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: A charming and convincing partnership based on mutual respect and a healthy dose of witty banter.
CONS: Nothing earth-shattering or overly ambitious here.
BOTTOM LINE: This is the sort of Fafhrd-and-Grey-Mouser-style sword and sorcery adventure that I love and would like to see more of in RPG novels.

The Pathfinder line of RPG novels is doing a lot of things right. They’ve been publishing intelligent adventure novels that showcase their gaming system and their campaign setting in lush detail. They’ve hired a variety of solid, professional authors, and they’ve spread their tales among a wide variety of heroes instead of following one party for multiple books. The one thing that they had been missing–until now–was the particular brand of charming that I have recently come to love in Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series. Tim Pratt has done an excellent job of capturing that spirit in this Pathfinder outing.

Read the rest of this entry

Fantasy novels based on a roleplaying game? You betcha. There’s no shortage of book series that suck money from devoted fans tie in to popular gaming franchises, such as the novels that accompany World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Warhammer 40k, and, of course, Dungeons & Dragons. Paizo‘s Pathfinder Roleplaying Game introduces the world of Golarion which, as many fantasy worlds are, is full of monsters, magic, dungeons, piles of treasure, plenty of traps, and–most importantly–an endless stream of “adventurers” who got conned into believing that the best way to make a living is to throw themselves headlong into danger and pray they come out the other side with all their wiggly bits intact. With Pathfinder Tales, Paizo has unleashed a growing variety of authors on the reality they’ve created to see what stories they can conjure.

So how do game dynamics and rule books translate into novel-length plot and characters?

Pretty durn well, actually. So strap on those boots, grab your walking stick, and prepare to journey through three such literary concoctions from the Pathfinder Tales library. Oh, and you might want to make sure your first aid kit is freshly stocked with healing potions. Just in case.

Read the rest of this entry

James Lafond Sutter is the Fiction Editor for Paizo Publishing and a co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game campaign setting. He is the author of the novel Death’s Heretic, which Barnes & Noble ranked #3 on its list of Best Fantasy Releases of 2011. He’s also written numerous short stories for such publications as Escape Pod, PodCastle, Starship Sofa, Apex Magazine, Black Gate, and the #1 Amazon bestseller 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 gaming material for both Dungeons & Dragons and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. When not writing or editing, James has performed extensively with various bands and other musical projects ranging from punk and progressive metalcore to folk and musical theater. James lives in Seattle with several roommates and a fully functional death ray. For more, check out www.jameslsutter.com or follow him on Twitter at @jameslsutter.


Charles Tan: First off, how did you first get acquainted with speculative fiction? With tabletop gaming?

James L. Sutter: I’ve loved speculative fiction for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest book-related memories is buying Richard A. Knaak’s The Crystal Dragon (because it had not just a dragon but a holographic dragon on the cover!), but I suspect I was reading it even before that. I know that by the time I was in third grade I’d read all of Michael Crichton’s science fiction. So it really has been a lifelong affair for me, and one which gets more robust every year.

Gaming and I have had a more tumultuous relationship. I first discovered roleplaying games in fifth grade, when my teacher Mr. Tivnan taught several of us how to play first edition D&D on our lunch breaks. After that campaign finished, none of us really had any idea how to acquire RPG books, so instead we began creating our own roleplaying games based on everything from the wild west to Brian Jacques’ Redwall novels. Eventually some of us got hold of the real deal–things like D&D and Battletech and Warhammer–and those games defined our summers up through the end of high school. After that, I lost touch with gaming for a few years as I focused on writing and playing in bands. It wasn’t until I started working at Paizo in late 2004/early 2005 that I really rediscovered my love of gaming again, and I’ve been playing regularly ever since.

Read the rest of this entry