Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thinking About Reading...

The sign above his Island Books says, "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World," but grumpy bookstore owner A.J. Fikry seems like a living refutation of its meaning. Recently widowed, his sales falling precipitously, and his prize rare book missing, A.J. finds little comfort even in the company of books. Then just when it seems like he has become an unreachable island, a large package arrives that begins to change everything....

Monday, August 18, 2014

2014 Hugo Awards

The Hugo Awards for 2014 were awarded last night at Loncon3 in London.  For a full breakdown of the voting, click here.  Congratulations to all the winners!

Best Novel: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)

Best Novella: “Equoid” by Charles Stross (, 09-2013)

Best Novelette: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal ( /, 09-2013)

Best Short Story: “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (, 02-2013)

Best Related Work: “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)

Best Graphic Story: “Time” by Randall Munroe (xkcd)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): Gravity written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

Best Editor - Short Form: Ellen Datlow

Best Editor - Long Form: Ginjer Buchanan

Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon

Best Semiprozine: Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki

Best Fanzine: A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher

Best Fancast: SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester

Best Fan Writer: Kameron Hurley

Best Fan Artist: Sarah Webb

The John W. Campbell Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2012 or 2013, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award): Sofia Samatar

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thinking About Reading...

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw, but her courage and strength are assets. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect nectar and pollen. A feat of bravery grants her access to the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all–daring to challenge the Queen's preeminence–enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the hive's strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by a greater power: a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, and her society–and lead her to perform unthinkable deeds.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Julie Dillon

I'm a major fan of Julie Dillon's artwork.  She's been flying under the radar for a while now, doing pieces and cover art here and there, but she's finally starting to get some recognition as evidenced by her appearance on the 2013 and 2014 Hugo's short list for Professional Artist.  I'm not going to say much, preferring to let Dillon's artwork speak for itself.  Here website is here. She also has a Kickstarter project to make artbooks of her work going on for another 14 days.  You can view that here.  I have, of course, already contributed to the Kickstarter. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I'm back (Provisionally) with Eye on New Releases

I've been thinking about restarting my blog for a while.  I've decided to give it a try and take things slow.  Do a few posts about new releases, other books, maybe an artist or two.  I won't do any reviews to start.  I might start those again sometime down the line. 

The last few years Daniel Abraham has been making a splash in science fiction and fantasy.  First, was his fantastic The Long Price Quartet series, which turned him into a must-read author for me.  This was followed by his urban fantasy under the name M.L.N. Hanover, the Expanse books co-authored with Ty Franck, and of course his epic fantasy, The Dagger and the Coin.  Today is the release of the fourth and penultimate book in The Dagger and Coin, The Widow's House.

Lord Regent Geder Palliako's war has led his nation and the priests of the spider goddess to victory after victory. No power has withstood him, except for the heart of the one woman he desires. As the violence builds and the cracks in his rule begin to show, he will risk everything to gain her love or else her destruction.

Clara Kalliam, the loyal traitor, is torn between the woman she once was and the woman she has become. With her sons on all sides of the conflict, her house cannot stand, but there is a power in choosing when and how to fall.

And in Porte Oliva, banker Cithrin bel Sarcour and Captain Marcus Wester learn the terrible truth that links this war to the fall of the dragons millennia before, and that to save the world, Cithrin must conquer it.

 Buy it today at your local bookstore, B&N, or Amazon

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New releases for the week of June 23rd


In the reign of President Deklan Comstock, a reborn United States is struggling back to prosperity. Over a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, after the Fall of the Cities, after the Plague of Infertility, after the False Tribulation, after the days of the Pious Presidents, the sixty stars and thirteen stripes wave from the plains of Athabaska to the national capital in New York City. In Colorado Springs, the Dominion sees to the nation’s spiritual needs. In Labrador, the Army wages war on the Dutch. America, unified, is rising once again.

Then out of Labrador come tales of a new Ajax—Captain Commongold, the Youthful Hero of the Saguenay. The ordinary people follow his adventures in the popular press. The Army adores him. The President is…troubled. Especially when the dashing Captain turns out to be his nephew Julian, son of the falsely accused and executed Bryce.

Treachery and intrigue dog Julian’s footsteps. Hairsbreadth escapes and daring rescues fill his days. Stern resolve and tender sentiment dice for Julian’s soul, while his admiration for the works of the Secular Ancients, and his adherence to the evolutionary doctrines of the heretical Darwin, set him at fatal odds with the hierarchy of the Dominion. Plague and fire swirl around the Presidential palace when at last he arrives with the acclamation of the mob.

> Naamah’s Kiss, Jacqueline Carey
> Everything Matters!, Ron Currie
> The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Gardner Dozois (Anthology)
> Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Omen, Christie Golden
> After the Downfall, Harry Turtledove
> G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra, Max Allan Collins
> Timeline, Michael Crichton (Reprint)
> The Demon Redcoat, C.C. Finlay
> The Sorcerer of the North, John Flanagan
> Death’s Head: Maximum Offense, David Gunn

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review: The City and the City

I recently reviewed The City and the City by China Mieville for BSC Review. It's a fascinating book that blends several genres into a murder mystery in a fantastical setting. I think it will appeal to many readers of speculative fiction. You can read the review here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New releases for the week of June 16th


Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy. With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves. So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes. Suddenly Frey isn't just a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down. But Frey knows something they don't. That freighter was rigged to blow, and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit. He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons. It's going to take all his criminal talents to prove he's not the criminal they think he is...

> Fragment, Warren Fahy
> The Angel’s Game, Carlos Luis Zafon
> Jasmyn, Alex Bell

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Review: Best Served Cold

Best Served Cold
by Joe Abercrombie

Format: Hardback, 536 pages
Publisher: Gollancz
Cover Design: Dave Senior, Didier Graffet/Bragelonne
Release Date: June 1, 2009 (UK)
ISBN-10: 0-575082453
ISBN-13: 978-0575082458

Monzcarro Murcatto, general of the mercenary army The Thousand Swords, and her brother and right-hand man, Benna, arrive at Talins to report the fall of another city to their employer, Duke Osco. The Duke, whose daughter is married to the King of the Union, has his own ambitions to become King of Styria and The Thousand Swords have already cut a swath through a portion of the continent. However, the mercenary army’s victories have made Monza extremely popular with the common people, far too popular for Osco’s taste. In a preemptive strike, Benna is murdered and Monza is thrown off a mountain to be left for dead.

Monza survives the fall, but is broken and scarred, swearing revenge against the seven who betrayed her. She recruits a varied band including her old mercenary general, a poisoner and his apprentice, a child-like killer, a former Union assassin, and a Northman trying to do good to aid her in her mission, which takes her across the breadth of Styria. As Monza’s revenge takes its toll on her and her comrades, her quest becomes subsumed by various factions, both within and without, intent on using the apex of Styria’s Years of Blood to their advantage.

The plot is a pretty straightforward revenge scenario and it plays that way for most of the book. About three-fourths of the way in, Monza’s revenge gets tied into a larger, overall struggle for control of Styria. The fate of the island continent swings back and forth between the various factions and it’s never clear how things will things end. Monza’s revenge is really a microcosm of a civilization caught in a never-ending struggle of power and blood. One thing I was surprised by was the number of characters first seen in The First Law who pop up in this book. Luckily, Abercrombie limits most of them to only supporting roles so that they don’t get in the way of the story.

And of course, the centerpieces of the novel are Abercrombie’s characters. Monza, in particular, is realistic as a woman who achieves a measure of power in a male-dominated culture. The tale is not just about her, but the entire cast as they cope with some of the darkest aspects of human nature. Some find a measure of redemption or even infamy while others descend into a dark spiral from which they may never recover. The title of the book uses part of the well-known quote for a good reason. Vengeance has a marked effect, on both those that seek it and those that are affected by it, and that it’s near impossible to do so and remain untouched.

Best Served Cold is a worthy stand-alone companion to The First Law trilogy. Abercrombie is definitely one of the best new writers of fantasy. Strongly recommended.

Rating: 9.5/10

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New releases for the week of June 9th

Along with the new releases for this week, I've also added a new sub to the sidebar titled "Eye on New Releases". As the title states, this will be a list of new books that I'll watching out for. I'm just trying this out for now.


She was born in poverty, in a dusty village under the equatorial sun. She does not remember her mother, she does not remember her own name—her earliest clear memory is of the day her father sold her to the tall pale man. In the Court of the Pomegranate Tree, where she was taught the ways of a courtesan…and the skills of an assassin…she was named Emerald, the precious jewel of the Undying Duke’s collection of beauties.

She calls herself Green.

The world she inhabits is one of political power and magic, where Gods meddle in the affairs of mortals. At the center of it is the immortal Duke’s city of Copper Downs, which controls all the trade on the Storm Sea. Green has made many enemies, and some secret friends, and she has become a very dangerous woman indeed.

Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.

Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.

By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.

> Relentless, Dean Koontz

> Of Berserkers, Swords, and Vampires, Fred Saberhagen

> Overthrowing Heaven, Mark L. Van Name

> The Edge of the World, Kevin J. Anderson

> The Rise of the Terran Empire, Poul Anderson

> In Ashes Lie, Marie Brennan

> The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence, Storm Constantine

> The Unit, Ninni Holmqvist

> Consorts of Heaven, Jaime Fenn