the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for November 2018

The Weight of Words, edited by Dave McKean and William Schafer

published in 2017

where I got it: received ARC from the publisher

.

.

.

.

.

.

While whining about the books I’ve read recently and not reviewed (dear Andrea: is it OK to read something and not review it right away!), I got thinking about a book I’ve been reading and re-reading, and touching and oohing and aahing over the artwork of.  I’ve had this book in my possession for over a year, and it’s become less traditional anthology and more touchstone. The themes of the stories are all over the place – sad, creepy, hopeful, full of release, full of tension, seeking closure. The only thing these stories have in common is the artwork. If you’ve got a friend who loves the intersection of art and storytelling, this would make a great gift.

 

The Weight of Words, edited by Dave McKean and William Shafer came out around this time last year, but it’s a book I needed months and months to think about.  Dave McKean’s multi layered artwork draws you in, and then like a fractal, keeps drawing you in. This surreal artwork is the perfect match for speculative fiction stories that speak of places that never were.    These images tell a thousand stories, I almost feel bad for the authors who had to decide on just one plot line and write a short story!

Something incredible happens when artwork and storytelling intersect, something that feels like a chemical reaction.   The Weight of Words includes fiction by Joe Hill, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Catherynne Valente, Maria Dahvana Headley, Joe R. Lansdale, Alastair Reynolds, and more.

 

Here are my thoughts on some of my favorite stories in the collection:

 

Belladonna Nights by Alastair Reynolds –  McKean’s artwork prompt is a strange image of a clocktower, and violins growing out of the tops of the tower.  Reynolds took this fantastically surreal image and wrote a far future space opera about a reunion. Campion can continue to protect Shaula, or he can tell her the truth about her past.  If he tells her the truth, nothing will ever be the same again, and keeping up the lie is killing him. Just so you know, this story made me cry. I learned after I read the story that this story takes place in Reynold’s “House of Suns” world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Author Danica Davidson and Manga author Rena Saiya have recently released Manga Art for Intermediates.    When Danica told me about this new book, I had a million questions for her – How did she know what text would work best with Rena’s pictures? How did Rena know what artwork would go best with the text? How did the two of them collaborate? How did they find each other? Was it fun?  Instead of trying to answer my million questions over lunch one day, Danica suggested I interview the both of them. Excellent idea!

Danica Davidson is most famous for her series of unofficial Minecrafter adventure novels for middle grade readers.  She’s written articles for MTV, The Onion, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and about fifty other publications.  You can learn more about her work here.

Rena Saiya is a Mangaka (manga author) living in the Tokyo area.  Her flexible artwork style has allowed her to publish manga in a variety of genres, and she has also taught manga-creation in vocational schools in Japan. Click here to visit Rena’s website.

Danica and Rena were kind enough to answer all my questions about their new manga art book,  how they collaborated,  their backgrounds, and more!  If you know someone who is dabbling in drawing manga fan-art, Manga Art for Intermediates is for them!

My Q&A with Danica Davidson:

Little Red Reviewer: This is your second Manga Art step-by-step book. What did you want to accomplish in this book that you hadn’t already accomplished in the first book?

Danica Davidson: The first book was more basic. If you want to draw manga-style characters in your notebook but don’t know how to start, that book has you covered. It starts with how to draw faces, eyes, bodies, really going piece by piece, then gets into how to draw common character types. So we have schoolgirl, schoolboy, chibi, ninja, magical girl, etc. Each character is drawn in maybe 15 or so steps, making it much more detailed than any other how-to-draw manga books I’m aware of on the market.

If you’ve gone through that book or have some background in art, then Manga Art for Intermediates ups the ante. It still shows how to draw common character types in many more steps (this time around we have characters like bride and groom, kendo player, seme and uke, Heian man, nekojin and even some yokai). But we also talk about what sort of papers, pens, inks and software real, professional manga creators in Japan like to use. It goes into screentones and how to use brushes to make black hair look shiny. All of this information comes thanks to Rena, who has a background in manga.

Danica Davidson

LRR: How did you first get involved with manga step-by-step guides?

DD: It happened because of my background in manga. I started reading manga as a teenager, and not long afterward I started writing about it professionally. The first glossy magazine I freelanced for was Anime Insider, and that led me to writing about manga for Booklist and Publishers Weekly, and that led me to writing about manga for MTV, CNN, The Onion and other places. I adapted manga into English for Digital Manga Publishing and have helped in the editing process for Yen Press. I love a good story, and manga is a great medium. Then a publisher reached out to me based on my manga knowledge and experience, saying they wanted to do an art book. That led to Manga Art for Beginners.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been reading plenty lately!  Have I written any reviews? Nope.  hmmm…   guess I better get on that.

Here are some teasers on what I’ve read lately:

Not sure that I enjoyed Noumenon Infinity enough to write a full length review of it,  it might get a quickie one paragraph write up or something.  My favorite character hardly makes an appearance, I found the plot to be clunky and too much jumping around, and the ending was not a surprise at all.  There – done.

The Monster Baru Cormorant – damn did I love this book!  this book has a much, much wider range than the first one, I want to read it again, cover to cover, before writing the review. I feel like on the first read through I wasn’t focusing on the right things.

The Calculating Stars  is my  local book club’s book for this month. What a fun, fast, read!   This book isn’t dense, but there is a LOT jammed into it, and it’s just the beginning of the story. I can see why Kowal did a duology.

 

I just finished this forthcoming Tim Powers novella this morning, quite a fun read!  Would make an excellent novel if he wanted to expand it. Has the Power’s treats of parallel worlds, raising the dead, body switching, and people who are convinced that they know how all this stuff works.

 

How about you?

What have you read lately? Was it good?

When you’ve read a bunch of stuff, but you’re behind on actually writing the reviews, what do you do?

Sometimes I just never write the reviews, sometimes i reread the book to get excited about the story again,  sometimes i read all the reviews on Amazon to get some inspiration, sometimes I bribe myself “No more episodes of Great British Baking Show until you write a review!”

Hello!  Have I got a treat for you today!  I have the honor of showing you the gorgeous cover art for Julie Czerneda’s forthcoming fantasy novel The Gossamer Mage!    (Oh, you’ve read her Esen books? And her Species Imperative trilogy? And the Clan Chronicles?  Best surprise ever:  She writes fantasy too!)

Today is a trifecta of awesome:  A guest post from Julie about The Gossamer Mage‘s  journey, and an excerpt from the novel, and of course, the cover reveal!  and seriously, this is some freakin’ gorgeous cover art!  (Click here for pre-order info)

about the book:

Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic.

Mage scribes learn to write Her words as intentions: spells to make beasts or plants, designed to any purpose. If an intention is flawed, what the mage creates is a gossamer: a magical creature as wild and free as it is costly for the mage.

For Her Gift comes at a steep price. Each successful intention ages a mage until they dare no more. But her magic demands to be used; the Deathless Goddess will take her fee, and mages will die.

To end this terrible toll, the greatest mage in Tananen vows to find and destroy Her. He has yet to learn She is all that protects Tananen from what waits outside. And all that keeps magic alive.

 

photo credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

 

About the author:

For over twenty years, Canadian author/ former biologist Julie E. Czerneda has shared her curiosity about living things through her science fiction, published by DAW Books, NY. Julie’s written fantasy too, the first installments of her Night’s Edge series (DAW) A Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow, winning consecutive Aurora Awards (Canada’s Hugo) for Best English Novel. Completing her Clan Chronicles series with To Guard Against the Dark, Julie’s latest SF novel is Search Image, Book #1 of The Web Shifter’s Library, featuring her beloved character Esen the Dear Little Blob. Julie’s edited/co-edited numerous anthologies, including SFWA’s 2017 Nebula Award Showcase, but nothing prepared her for the sheer joy of opening her Clan Chronicles to fans of the series to produce Tales from Plexis, out this December. In 2019, Julie will be GOH at ConStellation, Lincoln, Nebraska. Meanwhile, Julie is hard at work on fantasy standalone The Gossamer Mage, out August 2019. Visit www.czerneda.com for more.

Magic?  Forgotten languages?  The high cost for doing magic correctly, and the higher costs for doing it wrong? Shut up and take my money! Good thing I’ve got an excerpt to share with you! (excerpt is images, may take a moment to load)

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Hello fellow #RRSciFiMonth readers! I wanted to share with you some of my favorite science fiction that I’ve read over the last year or so. If you’ve ever wondered to yourself “what kind of science fiction does Little Red Reviewer enjoy?” this list should answer that question. the links will take you to my review.

 

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?

 

The Machineries of Empire trilogy by Yoon Ha Lee, which includes Ninefox Gambit, Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun. I love everything about this trilogy, even though I am still recovering from that scene that made me cry hysterically for most of two days. Here’s a link to all three reviews, but read everything after the Ninefox Gambit review at your own risk because Spoilers!

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells – A murderous cyborg who balances a heart of gold, an addiction to soap operas, and hating on humans. My fave entry so far is the 2nd one – Artificial Condition.

The Penultimate Truth by Philip K Dick – Fake news! First half of the book is excellent, second half isn’t so awesome, but this book is still worth the read.

Acadie by Dave Hutchinson – the best fun you’ll have in 100 pages

Borne by Jeff Vandermeer – weird, wonderful, post-apocalyptic. I hope one day Rachel feels safe enough that she can take her shoes off.

Nova by Samuel Delany – this story hasn’t aged a day! a compelling read that keeps you turning the pages. Excellent characters, fast paced plot.

 

I got chatting with author Chris Voss over twitter (@vossdross), and if you follow the #RRSciFiMonth tag, you’ve probably seen some of his tweets about his science fiction TBR, enjoying Doctor Who, his current  reads, and reminiscing about scifi paperbacks he enjoyed as a kid.

 

Chris’s debut novel, Genesis, came out earlier this year,  and boy did I have a ton of question for him about it!  I wanted to know everything – what was his favorite scene to write? what inspired the book? why go the self publishing route?  you know. . . everything!  Sorry Chris, I didn’t mean to freak you out with so many questions! I’m just curious about everything, and i might be an introvert but that doesn’t stop me from e-mailing someone a million questions.    This is a pretty cool interview, if I do say so myself!

 

About the book:

In a world ravaged by climate change, social inequality and dwindling natural resources there’s only one solution: abandon ship and terraform a new home.

Operation Genesis is beset by problems from the start – sabotage, covert infiltration, planning by committee – but Dylan Lomax, an emotionally disconnected empath, soon discovers there are worse things than organisational incompetence. The mission to bring life to a new planet has a terrible secret, one which threatens to take humanity to the brink of extinction.

About Chris Voss:

C.A. Voss was raised in Walsall, a small industrial town in the UK famous for its close proximity to the M6, Jerome K. Jerome and a concrete hippo (Google it). He moved to Leicester to study at De Montfort University and has been resident there ever since. He writes in his spare time and would love nothing more than to earn a living by telling stories.

He loves the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, Philip K. Dick and Hunter S. Thompson, to name but a few, and believes the greatest novel ever written was the first, Don Quixote by Cervantes. He also draws inspiration from the thousands of movies and TV shows consumed during a misspent youth; and hopes that his work contains a fraction of the wit, intelligence and excitement displayed by creatives like Joss Whedon, Aaron Sorkin and Steven Spielberg.

 

Let’s get to the interview!

 

Little Red Reviewer: Hi Chris! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Chris Voss: I find writing a little about myself way more difficult than writing a 100,000 word novel!

The initials in my pen name, C.A. Voss, stand for Chris(topher) Adam. I live in Leicester, in the UK, with my girlfriend Jen. A few years ago we both quit our jobs to go travel the world on a shoe-string budget and had the most amazing adventure. We barely scratched the surface of all the sights and experiences the world has to offer and can’t wait to get out and do it again someday.

I’m a master of procrastination; binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, reading books off my TBR list and playing Red Dead Redemption II when I should be writing my next novel. I have three great ideas I’m working on at the moment, including a spiritual sequel to my debut novel Genesis.

Read the rest of this entry »

I love buying books.  If I read an author and fall in love with their work, I try to buy more of their books.  I can’t seem to leave a bookstore without purchasing a cookbook.

 

I’ve been waiting for Seth Dickinson’s next Baru Cormorant book since, oh, I dunno, about 5 seconds after finishing the first book in the series, The Traitor Baru Cormorant. I was so excited for the next book in the series, The Monster Baru Cormorant, that I reread the first one, managed to purchase a copy of the new book the day it came out, and started reading it that night. It’s super dense, I’m madly in love with all the economics talk (but wait, i thought I hated economics?),  and I really miss Tain Hu. Might have to reread the first book just to be able to spend some more time with her. I’m about half way through The Monster Baru Cormorant, and am pretty sure I’ll need to read it twice if I’m gonna write a coherent review.

About five minutes after I finished Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee,  I ordered a copy of Lee’s short story collection, Conservation of Shadows.    And I finally, finally, after everyone I know has said how amazing this series is, bought a copy of Vicious by V.E. Schwab.  the problem is going to be deciding which one of these to read first!!!   The Lee looks enjoyable because it’s short stories, i can read one or two before bed or in the morning before I leave for work.   If Vicious turns out to be an emotional roller coaster, I might need to wait a few weeks to read it,  as I’m still recovering from Revenant Gun, and a little voice is telling me that Baru is going to take me on another emotional roller coaster!

 

Even if I don’t get to either of these books any time soon, I like that they are in my house.

 

 

And because I apparently can’t leave a bookstore without buying a cookbook, lets make some Gyudon.   and there’s a whole chapter on Japanese Curry!  Curry Rice FTW!


Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,305 other followers

Follow the Little Red Reviewer on WordPress.com

Archives

Categories

FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
Advertisements