Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’
While you are waiting with baited breath for the two book reviews I’m working on, check out these give aways. Because we all need more books, right?
My Shelf Confessions is giving away a copy of The Book of Apex, Vol 4
And speaking of Apex Books, they are giving away a copy of Midnight, by Mari Adkins
In celebration of World Book Day, Over the Effing Rainbow is giving away a limited edition, signed copy of Sebastien de Castell’s debut Traitor’s Blade. an autographed, numbered copy? holy crap!
like Tad Williams? Tachyon Publications is giving away an ARC of The Very Best of Tad Williams
Win a copy of James. S.A. Corey’s Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves over at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
Over at She Wolf Reads, you can win a copy of Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong!
intrigued by A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias? I am. Let’s go win a copy over at Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing
a copy of Jaime Lee Moyer’s debut novel Delia’s Shadow is being given away at Rainy Day Ramblings
published August 2013
where I got it: received review copy from the publisher
It’s no secret I was a huge fan of the first book. Prince of Thorns was unlike anything I’d ever come across before. It was everything I was looking for in the departments of grimdark and horrible things happening to people. For a short time that book polarized the fantasy fan community, with people either really loving it, or really hating it. Lawrence took risks that other authors simply would not take, and you’ve got to applaud him for that.
A year later, I kept finding reasons not to pick up King of Thorns. The first book in the series was so good, how could the second one possibly live up to my expectations? Long story short is I was lukewarm on King of Thorns. I had a tough time wrapping my head around the disparate plot lines, and found the dream transitions to be confusing and awkward, but I enjoyed Katherine’s scenes and was moved by the loss of Gog. The dog scene? Didn’t hold a candle to what I went through losing Gog. Yes, I’m heartless, we’ve already established that, I’m the kind of person who likes this kind of thing, remember?
A year later, I was again avoiding reading Emperor of Thorns. Which was it going to be? Mindblowing like Prince? Or middling like King? Or something else entirely?
no book reviews or interviews ready.
So you get photos instead. Here be book pr0n.
oh hell yeah! As a tease I had it sitting on my desk at work. SO wanted to start reading it, but had to, like, work. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the only Jemisin I’ve read so far, and thanks to that book I will forever buy anything with her name on it.
Will McIntosh has a new book coming out
soon in May from Orbit! Creative cover design of Love Minus Eighty and the unusual binding of this ARC leads me to wonder what incredible cover design is in store for the finished copy of Defenders? And speaking of Defenders, I also have
Which features McIntosh’s short story Scout, which is connected to Defenders. Also? I fucking love Robert Reed. I have an e-arc of The Memory of Sky which I can’t wait to start reading! And by the way, Scout made me cry at the end.
I’ve never read any Michael Sullivan, what does every one think of him writing scifi? This baby comes out from Tachyon in April.
You’ve been seeing this banner all over the place, yeah?
This is 300 and some pages of unexpected short fiction. Stories that transport you, that surprise you, that burrow behind your eyes and make a home for themselves in the recesses of you mind.
Because I know you’d love to have this beautiful book on your bedside table or snuggled into your e-reader, we’ve got some bloggers doing give aways as part of the tour. Act fast, and win yourself a brilliant collection!
Dab of Darkness is giving away an e-book (international) ends at midnight on Feb 22
Fantasy Review Barn also has an e-book up for grabs (international), ends on Feb 25
My Shelf Confessions has a print copy up for grabs (sorry, US only), you’ve got about another week to enter.
So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself some unforgettable short fiction!
This post is part of the Book of Apex Vol 4 blog tour! We’ve got about 20 authors involved, traveling the blogosphere doing interviews and guest posts here and there. Today it’s my pleasure to have Ian Nichols, author of “In The Dark”, visit and answer a few questions. Ian doesn’t mention it below, but you can read his short story “Mortal Coil” at Daily Science Fiction.
LRR: In “In The Dark”, Morgan doesn’t recognize the language the gypsy is singing in. What do the words of his song mean? What language is the gypsy boy singing in?
I.N.: The gypsy is singing Portugese fada, sad songs abut the harshness of life and love. I heard these for the first time when I visited Portugal in 1996, and they are the blues of Portugal. The words mean “I was dancing in my boat besides the Cruel Sea, and the sea was roaring that I was stealing, and I wonder if the sea will have reason to see my heart dancing.” That’s a very loose translation of a sad song.
LRR: What inspired this story?
I.N.: I was born in Wales, but came to Australia when I was three. I didn’t go back to Wales until I was forty-six. Down in those valley towns, it’s not like “How Green Was My Valley,” or even like Dylan Thomas. The mines have always been dark, dangerous places, and when Maggie Thatcher closed them down in the eighties, the mining towns fell to ruin. Unemployment was running at well over 50% in Blainah, where I was born on the kitchen table at No. 12 Part St, alcoholism was rife and so was dependence on social services. There were holes in the hillsides where the old mine working had collapsed for lack of maintenance, and every now and then part of the hill would slide down into the valley from this and bury a house or two. If you were lucky, no-one was killed. The older people still talked about what it was like down the pits, and I took this mood, this feeling, as the basis of my story about how the mines can have a darkness that is theirs alone, a darkness of the soul.
LRR: Where else can we find your fiction? What work of yours are you most proud of?
I’m a terrible blog tour host. I didn’t even *read* the entire book before the tour started. But there’s a silver lining here! It means as the month goes by I’ll be posting additional reviews of different stories in the book! My terrible reading habits is a win for you! I might even be a completist about the whole thing. Yes, yes I shall. my goal for 2014 is to be a completist.
Today’s reviews include short stories by Ian Nichols, Cecil Castellucci, Sarah Dalton, A.C. Wise, Alethea Kontis, Katharine Duckett, Cat Rambo, Tim Susman, Mari Ness, Brit Mandelo, and David J. Schwartz. Think that’s a great combination of authors? it is, but it barely covers one third of the awesomesauce that is this volume of fiction from Apex Magazine.
interested in reading these stories for yourself? of course you are! Head over to Dab of Darkness and enter to win a copy!
In the Dark, by Ian Nichols – In the mining town, the men sing on their way home from the mines. Songs about the sunlight, about beautiful women, about farming, songs about nothing at all. You don’t ever sing about the darkness of the mines, and you don’t ever sing alone. These are easy rules to live by, rules that keep everyone alive. Until the gypsy boy came. He flashed his dark eyelashes and caught the eyes of the officially unbetrothed. His nimble fingers graze the strings of his guitar and his voice is a caress on the air. But he sings alone, and he sings of the sad and the tragic and the lonesome and the dark. He hasn’t grown up around the dream-stealing darkness of mines, he has no way of knowing the danger he’s in. Morgan should really warn the boy about the dangers of singing about the dark, so near to the Dark. So he takes the gypsy boy over the mines, to show him, to warn him, to get him to shut the hell up already. This is a story that sneaks up on you, like a growing evening shadow that leaves a chill on your shoulders.
Always the Same. Till it is Not, by Cecil Castellucci – I am not a fan of zombie stories. This is a zombie story, and I loved the shit out of it. My enjoyment came from how the story was presented, from the style of the prose. I’m not being told “a story”, but watching a metamorphosis take place. Our nameless narrator is some type of zombie. Words are useless, vocabulary unecessary. Days consist of sleeping, night consists of feeding. The sky is yelled at, flesh is consumed, the horde moves on, often consuming its fallen members. They find themselves in a cemetery, and eat the flesh of the bodies that are presumably in shallow graves. Our narrator seems to realize this is a different place, a special place. When the horde moves on, he hides and stays. As is his lifestyle,he continues to consume the flesh found within the cemetery. And begins changing. As the protagonist’s mentality changes, the prose changes. Sentences that were fragments a few pages ago now have nuance and structure, thoughts that once consisted of “eat. sleep.” now involve complexity and forethought. He comes to understand that eating the flesh of those buried in the cemetery is what allowed him to change. If everyone in the horde ate of that flesh, perhaps this shambling shuffling disease could come to an end. When the horde returns, he knows what he has to do.
Scattered throughout the month, I’ll be posting reviews of selected stories of The Book of Apex: Volume 4 of Apex Magazine. If something you read here or on any of the other blogs participating in the blog tour gets your attention, I encourage you seek the story out on the Apex website. And if you like what you see? Consider purchasing a subscription to the magazine, or one of their anthologies. Consider leaving a comment on their website, or on twitter, or on the blog post. You’ve got an opinion and thoughts? I’d like to hear ‘em.
What I love about the fiction published by Apex is that it’s not straight up scifi, or straight up fantasy, or straight up anything, really. It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that. It’s true fantastika. Stories that can’t possibly happen in real life, but as you are reading, you so very much *want* it to be happening. The ultimate in suspension of disbelief. Many of your favorite authors have been published in Apex magazine, along with new authors who are soon to become favorites. And that’s what Apex does – they take the cream of the crop of the strangest of the strange, scratching that itch you hadn’t known you had until it was relieved.
This is the stuff you can’t get anywhere else, it’s that flavor that’s part bloody sunset, part crystal constellation, part fever dream. It’s like walking into that weird little bar on the corner (you know, the one with no windows? that one.), and playing it cool. You ask the bartender what they recommend, and they bring you a pint of something dark. You think you know what it is, but that first sip tells you this is something very different. It starts out gentle, even a little sweet, but then ends with an unexpected bite, so sharp you wonder if you’ve bit your lip because you swear you taste blood in your mouth. This is that unlabeled, brewed in the back, only available for people who ask for it by name type of drink.
The 24 Hour Brother, by Christopher Barzak – The first thing you need to know about this story is that you’re not going to get through it without crying. Lewis is excited to finally be an older brother. After the complications of Lewis’s birth, no one expected his mother to be able to carry another child to term. But a miracle happened, and little Joe was born. but Joe didn’t stay little for long. He cut his first tooth shortly after being born. Within the hour they were chasing him around the hospital. He’d nearly grown out of his baby clothes by the time his father caught him for the taxi ride home. Within 12 hours he was fully grown, and leaving his 15 year old older brother behind when he went out drinking. You can see where this is going, can’t you? Joe’s mother knew, the first time she saw him, that she was going to lose him. There’s something especially tragic about stories where you know from the opening paragraph that it’s going to end badly. Like I said, you’re not going to get through this one without crying.
The Leavings of the Wolf, by Elizabeth Bear – Dagmar runs to get away from her divorce. Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. She runs to lose weight. If she loses enough weight, she’ll be able to pry that wedding band off her finger, that gleaming golden reminder of everything that went horribly wrong in her life. And interspersed with her running is a floating story line, a dialog between her and an ex. But the thing is, this extra story line? You don’t know when exactly it’s happening. Was it years ago? a few weeks ago? yesterday? The weight of these few extra lines here and there are like the mark a wedding band leaves on your finger after years of wear: you don’t know anymore who you are without the mark. Anyways, on her morning run, Dagmar often sees the same murder of crows, it’s that group she’s been studying, anklebanding, and researching for the University. The crows know her, she knows the them, and she even makes the occasional Thought and Memory joke. One day she meets someone who might be a God, it’s not a joke anymore. And he tells her why she’s still running. We’re all running from something, and sometimes it’s only the fear of losing a mark that tells us who we thought we were supposed to be. I’ve run hot and cold with Bear’s fiction in the past, and this one hit me hard. In a good way.
Seems like January flew by in the blink of an eye, and February is upon us. That said, welcome to The Book of Apex: Volume Four of Apex Magazine Blog Tour! We’ll be journeying through The Book of Apex: Volume Four of Apex Magazine, which includes all the original fiction published in Apex Magazine during it’s fourth year. All throughout the month of February, authors will be showcased, short stories will be reviewed, parties will be had, minds will be blown, giveaways will be won. Maybe coldmageddon will even end and your kids will have an entire week of school without a snow day.
Never read anything from Apex Books? The fiction they publish defies categorization and pushes the boundaries. These stories are edgy, dark, and surreal, sneaking up on you, and demanding to be chewed on for a while. If you’re looking for something a little strange, a little odd, tilted from mainstream and sure to keep you reading, you’re in the right place: you’re in the Book of Apex Blog tour.
Here’s the tentative schedule, and as you can see, there is a ton of bloggers and authors (and an artist and a publisher!!) involved:
Feb 2 Review at Little Red Reviewer, My Bookish Ways interviews Jason Sizemore
Feb 3 Little Red Reviewer interviews cover artist Julie Dillon
Feb 4 Review at Dab of Darkness, Cecil Castilucci guest posts at Just Book Reading
Feb 5 Review at Rinn Reads, Little Red Reviewer interviews Michael Pevzner, A.C. Wise guest posts over at My Bookish Ways
Feb 6 Review at Lynn’s Book Blog, Rinn Reads interviews Rahul Kanakia
Feb 7 Review at Over The Effing Rainbow
Feb 8 Review at Tethyan Books, Dab of Darkness interviews Kat Howard
Feb 9 Books Without Any Pictures interviews Thoraiya Dyer, Katharine Duckett guest posts at Two Dudes in An Attic
Feb 10 Review at Many A True Nerd, Ian Nichols guest posts at Susan Hated Literature
Feb 11 Review at Two Dudes in an Attic, Rinn Reads interviews Adam Troy-Castro
Feb 12 Review at Books Without Any Pictures, My Bookish Ways interviews A.C. Wise
Feb 13 Little Red Reviewer interviews Ian Nichols, Adam-Troy Castro guest posts at Rinn Reads
Feb 14 Review at The Bastard Title, Alex Bledsoe guest posts at Lynn’s Book Blog
Feb 15 Review at Just Book Reading, Alec Austin guest posts at Many A True Nerd
Feb 16 Books Without Any Pictures interviews Marie Brennan, David Schwartz guest posts at The Bastard Title
Feb 17 Review at This is How She Fight Start, Lettie Prell guest posts at Worlds in Ink
Feb 18 The Bastard Title interviews David Schwartz, Sarah Dalton guest posts at Dab of Darkness
Feb 19 Review at Worlds in Ink, Little Red Reviewer interviews Alethea Kontis, Rahul Kanakia guest posts at My Bookish Ways
Feb 20 Review at Nashville Bookworm, Marie Brennan guest posts at Books Without Any Pictures
Feb 21 Review at My Shelf Confessions, Little Red Reviewer interviews Cecil Castellucci
Feb 22 Many a True Nerd interviews Alec Austin, Thoraiya Dyer guest posts at Tethyan Books
Feb 23 Review at Confessions of a Bibliomaniac, Little Red Reviewer interviews Tim Susman, Alethea Kontis guest posts at Over the Effing Rainbow
Feb 24 Review at Worlds in Ink, Michael Pezvner guest posts at My Shelf Confessions
Feb 25 Review at Susan Hated Literature, Lynn’s Book Blog interviews Alex Bledsoe
Feb 26 Dab of Darkness interviews Sarah Dalton, Tim Susman guest posts at Nashville Bookworm
Feb 27 Review at Fantasy Review Barn, Two Dudes in an Attic interviews Katharine Duckett
Feb 28 Worlds in Ink interviews Lettie Prell and Jason Sizemore guest posts at Confessions of a Bibliomaniac
Wow! Makes me wish there were more days in the month!
Judge a book by it’s cover? don’t mind if I do. We’re all guilty of buying a book because it has gorgeous cover art, or shying away from a book because the cover art is boring or off-putting. While I’m out of town this weekend, enjoy this gallery of Frank Frazetta cover art! It’s sure to be alluring to some of you, and off-putting to others. I have high expectations for discussions in the comments!
Not familiar with Frank Frazetta? Ultra-Famous fantasy artist who got started in comics and then went to painting. Many of his paintings were purchased for fantasy and adventure novel cover art during the 1960s and 1970s. His style involves lots of skin. lots of skin. probably NSFW.
Big pics and slow loading times ahead!
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time. If you’ve been paying attention, nothing on this list will be a surprise to you. If you happened to stumble by because you like “year end” lists, these are my top ten speculative fiction books I read this year. Looking for a good read? go find one of these.
Some of them are old.
Some of them are new.
Some of them were borrowed.
None of them are blue.
I’ve linked the titles to my reviews. In no particular order:
Sky Coyote by Kage Baker (1999) – the second in The Company series, this novel is told from Joseph’s point of view (and yes, Mendoza is still really, really pissed off at him). Joseph gets to do one of his favorite things – pretend to be a God. But this time, he’s got to get even the skeptics to believe his act.
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (2013) – No surprise this one made it to my best of the year list, as this is one of my favorite fantasy series. It’s true, I ranted a little about a character who really annoyed me, but holy shit, that ending?? holy shit! Also, I do just happen to have a Cinnamon colored dress/jacket combo and a four cornered grey hat in the making.
The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White (2013 )- Secret societies, multiple personalities, sublime prose, metaphysics, unexpected romance, characters that rip each other to shreds. What more could you possibly want? I got meddled with, my switches got hit, and I never wanted it to end. Just go read it already. Everything about this book was spot-on perfection for me.
Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks (1990) – only the best Culture novel of the best space opera series in existence. Not the easiest book in the world to read, but the subtlety, and the reveal at the end, and oh god I knew something was so horribly wrong as soon as he said he was going to cut his hair. . .