Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 7/19/2014

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-19

Interviews & Profiles

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GAME REVIEW: Machinarium

Machinarium is a point-and-click puzzle game published by Amanita Design in 2009. In the game you are a robot who has been dismantled and dumped from the robot city into the endless junkyard beyond. You had lived happily with your friends until a gang of thugs came and split you up, using each of you for your own devices. Now you need to find your way back into the city, rescue your friends, and keep the gang from doing anything like that again.
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Here’s the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Gemini Cell by Myke Cole, the latest in his military fantasy Shadow Ops world. It’s sporting a new look with this fourth (standalone) volume, using an eye-catching illustration by Larry Rostant.

A larger version appears below. Here’s the synopsis:
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REVIEW SUMMARY: A deliriously smart and funny beginning to a new urban fantasy series about dragons in the ruins of Detroit.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW
PROS: Fantastic and memorable characters; spectacular world building; fast paced adventure; snappy dialog with a lot of humor; completely unique magical system.
CONS: Would have liked more info about the rest of the world after the magic apocalypse.
BOTTOM LINE: A compelling first volume in a new series that will knock your socks off so hard they’ll leave smoking holes in your wall.
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[NOTE: This is part of a series of Q&As with the Shirley Jackson Award nominees.]

Jonathan Oliver is the editor-in-chief of Solaris and Abaddon. He has previously had stories published in a variety of magazines and anthologies in the UK and the US. He has written two novels for Abaddon Books – The Call of Kerberos and The Wrath of Kerberos – and his four anthologies for Solaris have received widespread critical acclaim and awards nominations.

Jonathan was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about his Shirley Jackson nominated anthology, End of the Road.


Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the Shirley Jackson Award nomination! Will you tell us about the nominated anthology and what inspired the collection?
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Bob Garcai and Bob Weinberg sent along some excellent Virgil Finlay art for us to share with our readers. This art is featured in the soon-to-be-ending Kickstarter project for The Collectors Book of Virgil Finlay being published by American Fantasy Press.

Bob says:

Virgil Finlay (1914-1971) was born in Rochester, New York on July 23, 1914. Which means we celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth this year. Why celebrate? Because Finlay was, without a doubt, the finest science fiction artist of the 20th century. He began illustrating for Weird Tales magazine in 1935, where he composed masterpieces for the pulp’s greatest writer, H.P. Lovecraft. Soon, he was working for all the great pulps – from Amazing Stories to Thrilling Wonder. He continued to illustrate SF magazines and books till his untimely death in 1971. Was he the best? Decide yourself with The Collectors Book of Virgil Finlay, available in November.

Here’s a preview of the book that is on it’s final days in Kickstarter!

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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the forthcoming novel Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley. The last Mosley book I read was The Wave. This one sounds like it might bejust as enjoyable.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-18

Interviews & Profiles

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[NOTE: This is part of a series of Q&As with the Shirley Jackson Award nominees.]

Conrad Williams was born in 1969. He is the author of seven novels (HEAD INJURIES, LONDON REVENANT, THE UNBLEMISHED, ONE, DECAY INEVITABLE, BLONDE ON A STICK and LOSS OF SEPARATION), four novellas (NEARLY PEOPLE, GAME, THE SCALDING ROOMS and RAIN) and two collections of short stories (USE ONCE THEN DESTROY and BORN WITH TEETH). He has won two major prizes for his novels. ONE was the winner of the August Derleth award for Best Novel, (British Fantasy Awards 2010), while THE UNBLEMISHED won the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel in 2007 (he beat the shortlisted Stephen King on both occasions). He won the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer in 1993. He won another British Fantasy Award, for Best Novella (THE SCALDING ROOMS) in 2008. In 2009 he was Guest of Honour at the World Horror Convention. He edited the anthology GUTSHOT, which was shortlisted for both the British Fantasy and World Fantasy Awards. He is an associate lecturer at Edge Hill University.

He lives in Manchester, UK, with his wife, three sons and a monster Maine Coon.

Conrad kindly answered a few of my questions…


Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the Shirley Jackson Award nomination! Will you tell us about “Raptor” and what inspired you to write it?
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Right now, you can get the eBook version of Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love edited by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin for only $1.99!
It is described thusly:

A groundbreaking anthology featuring stories from some of the most prestigious names in romance, fantasy, and science fiction, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

Featuring stories from and about the heart, these tales of romance are played out against every kind of setting, from ghost-haunted fantasy landscapes to mile-long spaceships in transit among the stars. Including some of the most well-known, bestselling, and award-winning authors in the industry, this must-have collection features an original story set in the Outlander universe from Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Marjorie M. Liu, and many more including Robin Hobb, Jo Beverley, Jacqueline Carey.

Co-edited by blockbuster bestselling author George R.R. Martin, whose fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire serves as the inspiration for HBO’s Game of Thrones, and Gardner Dozois, one of the pre-eminent anthologists of science fiction and fantasy and winner of fifteen Hugo Awards, Songs of Love and Death is a star-studded cross-genre anthology that explores the borderlands of fantasy, science fiction, and romance.

Grab it now if you want it. Available wherever you buy eBooks.

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REVIEW SUMMARY: Clarkesworld Year Six includes all 34 original pieces published in Clarkesworld Magazine during their sixth year. If you’re looking to get caught up on Clarkesworld, you can’t beat their yearly volumes.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Large variety of voice and style; good mix of famous writers and newer voices; includes many excellent examples of speculative fiction that pushes the boundaries; stories can be read in any order.
CONS: None. One of the strongest collections I’ve read in a long time.
BOTTOM LINE: This collection is jam-packed with Nebula and Locus award winners and Hugo nominated works. Well worth the money for that alone.

Skimming the table of contents of Clarkesworld Year Six, you’re going to recognize a lot of titles. The fiction that Clarkesworld published in their sixth year includes Nebula and Locus winners and nominees, Hugo nominees, and stories included in Gardner Dozois’ Years Best Science Fiction, Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. So it easily goes without saying that the 34 stories included in Clarkesworld Year Six are some of the best of the best.

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[NOTE: This part of a series of Q&As with the Shirley Jackson Award nominees.]

Brian Hodge, called “a writer of spectacularly unflinching gifts” by Peter Straub, is the award-winning author of ten novels of horror and crime/noir. He’s also written well over 100 short stories, novelettes, and novellas, and four full-length collections. His first collection, The Convulsion Factory, was ranked by critic Stanley Wiater as among the 113 best books of modern horror.

He lives in Colorado, where he also dabbles in music and photography; loves everything about organic gardening except the thieving squirrels; and trains in Krav Maga, grappling, and kickboxing, which are of no use at all against the squirrels.

Brian kindly answered a few of my questions…


Kristin Centorcelli: Congrats on the Shirley Jackson Award nomination! Will you tell us about your novella and what inspired you to write it?
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Joshua Westbury did an amazing kinetic typography video for John Anealio‘s “Steampunk Girl” song.

If you like it, you can download the “Steampunk Girl” song — as well as John’s entire Laser Zombie Robot Love album — for free!

Listen and watch below…
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Jill Archer on The Functional Nerds Podcast

Jill Archer, author of White Heart of Justice, 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.

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Hugo Award–nominated artist Julie Dillon is kickstarting a series of annual art books featuring exclusive new fantasy illustrations. It’s called Imagined Realms and it’ll knock your proverbial socks off.

Catch a peek at some of the awesome illustrations after the jump.
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Here’s the cover and synopsis for the forthcoming novel Daughter of Gods and Shadows by Jayde Brooks.

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SF/F/H Link Post for 2014-07-17

Interviews & Profiles

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BOOK REVIEW: Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell

REVIEW SUMMARY: A novel with a lot of big ideas that fails to deliver on its exciting premise and ultimately falls flat.

MY RATING:

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Fascinating “Greatcoats” concept; very well choreographed sword fight scenes.
CONS: Very muddy middle; little to no pay off on the potential in the first half of the story; characters chase a MacGuffin around for no reason; the ending is full of several deus ex machina plot points; vague world building and even vaguer characters.
BOTTOM LINE: While Traitor’s Blade is bursting with potential, it never becomes more than a mediocre fantasy outing. The ending is a huge let down.

The second I read the blurb for Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade, I knew I had to read it. There is nothing I love more than a fantasy novel with some swashbuckling rogues looking for adventure and redemption. Traitor’s Blade sounded like a rousing fantasy version of The Three Musketeers and you can’t imagine my disappointment when the book failed to deliver. This book had so much potential but as it dragged on it got harder and harder to forgive it.
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This Summer, readers are once again reminded that Stephen King is one of the most popular authors of our time. If you haven’t seen his new book, Mr. Mercedes, on bookstore shelves, you are either not paying attention or not going to the bookstore. Meanwhile, television viewers are enjoying the second season of Under the Dome, the adaptation of his 2009 novel of the same name.

Head on over to Kirkus Reviews to read Part 2 of The Stephen King Edition of Book-to-TV/Film Adaptations, in which I cover the short fiction adaptations!

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