Here’s the cover and synopsis for V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade ofagic.
Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming shared world collection Wild Cards IV: Aces Abroad edited by George R. R. Martin.
Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming novel Lowball: A Wild Cards Novel edited by George R.R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass.
Here’s the synopsis (larger cover version follows):
REVIEW SUMMARY: Possibly Lovegrove’s best yet.
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?
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…
The author of The Awesome Adventures of Pickle Boy, known only as “Jack Bee“, is concerned about security and insists his real name not be used. It is rumored, however, that the web-page www.pickle-boy.com may yield some extra bits of information on the author and/or further Pickle Boy adventures.
Tales from the Superverse
Let’s face it, we would not want to live in a world where there were super-powered beings routinely zipping around, even if they were mostly on our side.
This has nothing to do with the fact that everyone not lucky enough to have special abilities would basically feel like second-class humans. No. I’m talking about life as we know it.
Deadline is reporting that V.E. Schwab’s novel Vicious, just recently published by Tor, has been optioned by producer/financier Story Mining & Supply Co and Scott Free. Ridley Scott is tied to the project as producer .
Vicious is about two former college roommates who have a shared interest in examining the possibility that humans can develop super powers. Of course, their experiments prove to have some merit and the reality of their new situation pits these former friends as enemies. Vicious is a story about the gift of superpowers going horribly wrong, and a friendship that’s destroyed by corruption and the hunger for power.
A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and the Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits Unlikely Story, an online magazine publishing three issues of fiction per year with various unlikely themes. Follow her on twitter as @ac_wise.
Women to Read: Where to Start: Superhero Edition
by A.C. Wise
Anyone who knows me knows I have a weakness for comic books and superhero fiction. The traditional perception that comic books are for boys is slowly shifting, but the emphasis is on slow. Male superheroes dominate the box office, women who cosplay their favorite heroes are called fake geek girls, and we still have comic book creators today who say if women don’t like how they are portrayed (if they’re portrayed at all) in comic book pages well it’s too damned bad because comics aren’t for them anyway. So, in this installment of Women to Read: Where to Start, I’m going to shine a spotlight on women writing superheroes and proving there’s no sign on the genre door proclaiming ‘Boys Only’.
Author Guy Hasson has just posted his underground SF Film, The Indestructibles, starring Tamara Pearlman, Nathalie klein Selle and Tomer Shechori.
The Indestructibles is an independent, low-budget science fiction superhero film that just premiered at the Utopia Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Festival is now online for free at the website KillAllGods.com.
Here’s the synopsis:
For over 200 years, superhero battles ravaged the earth. Once they were defeated, hundreds of thousands superhero bodies littered the streets. They are living, breathing vegetables that cannot die and do not grow old. One day, the superheroes come back. Only Rachel Gardner, a high school teacher, can stop them.
(See also: the film journal, chronicling the film’s journey.)
Today, 5 of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards superhero adventure anthologies are available for only $2.99 on Amazon Kindle platforms (PCs, Macs, kindle devices and smartphonse). And they’re DRM-free!
Book titles and descriptions follow…
REVIEW SUMMARY: A conceptually intriguing exploration of superheroes in an artificial playground where social outcasts can don capes and have a shot at happiness.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Jacob Curtiss, 15-year-old orphan in a futuristic Melbourne (the last city on Earth), finds his way to the virtual world of Heropa. There he becomes Southern Cross, a Cape ready to live out his fantasies, but instead finds himself in a just-as-harsh world, where he has to track down the people responsible for the string of superhero murders.
PROS: Campy fun; over-the-top banter and superhero identities; a highly stylized retro-futuristic world; clever subversion of the heroic narrative; pop culture references galore
CONS: Pacing suffers throughout the book, resulting in initial disorientation; a heavy emphasis on bickering, which steals away the opportunity of deeper characterization and developing of the conceptual aspects in the world.
BOTTOM LINE: A light adventure with a bit of KAPOW and a heavy dose of sardonic sarcasm guaranteed to give you a case of the nostalgia for the good, old innocent days of comic books where things were neat, clean and proper.
With comic book icons jumping across the multiplex cinema screens, it’s hard not to be involved in the superhero hype, which has been successfully crossing over from colourful panels to novels and short fiction. With Adam Christopher’s Empire State, Seven Wonders and The Age Atomic as well as Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories edited by Claude Lalumière & Camille Alexa as most recent examples, it’s no wonder more people would examine the superhero narrative and myth, which leads us to Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, a novel by Australian author Andrez Bergen.
Rising Shadow has posted the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Dreams of the Golden Age by Carrie Vaughn, sequel to her superhero novel, After the Golden Age, which I enjoyed.
Here’s the synopsis:
Samit Basu is a writer of books, films and comics. His first novel, The Simoqin Prophecies, published by Penguin India in 2003 when Samit was 23, was the first book in the bestselling Gameworld Trilogy and marked the beginning of Indian English fantasy writing. The other books in the trilogy are The Manticore’s Secret and The Unwaba Revelations. Samit’s other novels include the young adult novel Terror on the Titanic, and a superhero novel titled Turbulence. Turbulence was published in the U.K. to rave reviews in 2012 and is to be published in the U.S. in 2013. It won Wired‘s Goldenbot Award as one of the best books of 2012.
Basu’s work in comics ranges from historical romance to zombie comedy, and includes diverse collaborators, from X-Men/Felix Castor writer Mike Carey to Terry Gilliam and Duran Duran. His next graphic novel, Local Monsters, will be published in 2013.
Samit was born in Calcutta, educated in Calcutta and London, and currently divides his time between Delhi and Mumbai. He can be found on Twitter as @samitbasu, and at samitbasu.com.
Nick Sharps: Sell me Turbulence in as few words as possible.
Samit Basu: Please buy Turbulence.
Right, I’ll try again with a few more words, but that’s the lowest word-count I can achieve while remaining polite. Turbulence is a superhero novel, set mostly in India and the UK. Fresh take on the genre, from a non-Western perspective. Passengers on a flight from London to Delhi find they’ve mysteriously gained physical abilities related to their deepest desires. What would you do if you actually got what you wanted? And how would you feel if you suddenly had the power to change the world?
Samuel Sattin is a graduate of the Mills College MFA in creative writing and the recipient of NYS and SLS Fellowships. His work has appeared in Salon Magazine, io9, Kotaku, The Good Men Project, and Heeb Magazine,and been featured in the The New Yorker, amongst others. He is currently a Contributing Editor at The Weeklings, and lives in Oakland, California, with his wife, beagle, and tuxedo cat. League of Somebodies is his first novel.
Samuel was kind enough to answer some questions I had after reading his debut novel, League of Somebodies.
REVIEW SUMMARY: The most meaningful superhero origin story I’ve ever encountered.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Raised on a steady diet of plutonium, Lenard Sikophsky grows up to become the world’s first superhero. The key to Lenard’s transformation? The Manaton, a sacred tome outlining the path to manhood. Now Lenard has a son of his own to teach, but an enemy exists that desperately wants to claim The Manaton as its own.
PROS: Mature, funny, and unexpectedly moving.
CONS: Don’t buy this expecting an action packed, superhero thrill ride.
BOTTOM LINE: For those looking for a story with something to say, look no further.
Conan O’Brien is the Clueless Gamer in a series of videos where he reviews video games. Here, Conan Reviews Injustice: Gods Among Us, in which DC superheroes and villains (and a surprise guest hero) battle for supremacy.
Here’s an event the likes of which have not been experienced since Batman met Scooby Doo and the gang.
This Summer you will see Phineas and Ferb…meet Marvel superheroes Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Thor and Nick Fury. It gets better: together they go up against MODOK, Red Skull, Whiplash and Venom!
Here’s the trailer…
REVIEW SUMMARY: More awesome super heroes meets zombies, now with super soldiers!
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Things get more complicated for L.A.’s ex-heroes when a unit of super soldiers show up.
PROS: Cool heroes; fair representation of the military; better villains; better plotting; better characterization; even better pop-culture references.
CONS: Weak finale with lack of resolution – building up for Ex-Communication; weaker action.
BOTTOM LINE: A good sequel that addresses some problems I had with Ex-Heroes while suffering from a few of its own. Yet still further proof that Clines’s brain should be mined for Hollywood gold.
REVIEW SUMMARY: Bound to appeal to fans of zombies and superheroes alike!
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The apocalypse has come and gone, the undead roam the streets of L.A. and superheroes like Mighty Dragon, Zzzap, Cerberus, Gorgon, and Stealth must protect what few living remain.
PROS: Cool heroes; original explanation of zombie virus effects and origin; good use of both genres; exciting action; flashbacks flesh out characters; cool setting.
CONS: Too many interchangeable regular people; somewhat boring villain; over too soon.
BOTTOM LINE: Ex-Heroes is a fun genre mash-up that pits superhumans against ex-humans. If ever a book had the potential for a Hollywood blockbuster, this is it.
How has Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines not been adapted for film yet? Really, I want to know? There’s no reasonable excuse I can imagine. Given the enormous popularity of superheroes and zombies, the major success of Marvel’s shared world movies and AMC’s The Walking Dead, it seems like a no-brainer (ha ha) that Ex-Heroes would make the ultimate Box Office killer. Someone call up the studios, I’m about to earn a commission.
Tachyon has posted the table of contents for Claude Lalumière’s upcoming anthology Super Stories of Heroes & Villains, leaping to a bookstore near you on August 1, 2013:
Here’s the book description:
Beware! Superheroes and villains are on the loose! Discover the origins of caped crusaders and their ingenious nemeses, uncover their terrible secrets, witness their victories and defeats. Who will triumph? Who might live to see another day? Only this dazzling array of award-winning and bestselling super-authors from the worlds of comics, urban fantasy, horror, science fiction, young adult, and noir can tell: Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Christopher Golden (Buffy the Vampire Slyer, Of Saints and Shadows), George R.R. Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire, Wild Cards), Cory Doctorow (Little Brother), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty and the Midnight Hour), Tananarive Due (My Soul to Keep), Jonathan Lethem (The Fortress of Solitude), Tim Pratt (Blood Engines), Kim Newman (Anno Dracula), and many more.
Here’s the super table of contents!
(See what I did there?)
Marvel’s Phase 2 domination of filmdom kicks off with Iron Man 3, but we’ll also get to see a bunch more superhero movies. Like this one, Thor: The Dark World, which takes place some time after the first movie. I’m not sure what exactly is going on, but it somehow involves Christopher Eccleston, Loki and his not sudden-and-inevitable betrayal. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the fist movie and I can’t say this one does a whole lot for me either.