The Geomancer

7/31/06

Crossover in Stores & In Press

Joel Shepherd's Crossover is in stores now. And just in time, two excellent reviews have appeared:

Sandy Amazeen of Monsters & Critics says:

"The first in a new series that will follow the adventures of Cassandra Kresnov, this is more then an action packed sci-fi tale set far into the future. Delving deeply into issues of sentience, self-determination and artificial intelligence this is an examination of the possible political implications that will arise as artificial intelligence progresses and begins thinking for itself ....This fast paced read uses political intrigue, dirty dealings, old and new friendships to keep the story well grounded in human issues while raising some interesting points to ponder. Shepherd’s new series is certain to gain an instant following with this exciting and thoughtful entry."

Meanwhile, Henry L Lazarus writes in the Philadelphia Weekly Press:

"Pyr has brought the first of Joel Shepherd's tales of an all too-human android in a conservative future empire... Very exciting and impossible-to-put down. I can't wait for the other two to appear."

20 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Hi,

    Just ordered it earlier today, and when it's going to arrive at my door, it's going to the top of my reading list.

    Liviu

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  2. Awesome. You must let me know what you think.

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  3. Anonymous9:31 PM

    I purchased all three in Australia, and have been awaiting the US version to appear.
    Mine are getting a bit tattered from rereading them. You will not be able to put Crossover down once you start, and will pestering PYR to hurry up and release the other two novels in this series. PYR pester Joel to do another book in this wonderful series.

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  4. We'll be debuting our cover to book two, BREAKAWAY, very soon now. Again by the wonderful Stephan Martiniere. As to a fourth book - we have to get there first, but I certainly wouldn't object to seeing checking in on where Sandy is these days.

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  5. Anonymous10:01 PM

    Hi,

    Got the book on Friday (4/8) and read it in 2 sittings by Saturday afternoon. Very good indeed, but I expected it. When is Breakway coming out?

    Liviu

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  6. Anonymous1:06 PM

    Hi,

    I got the book on Friday (8/4) and read in 2 sittings by Saturday afternoon. I liked it quite a lot (of the 40-50 books I read this year, it was just the 6th that I completely read when receiving it - the others were Ghost Brigades, In Fury Born, Hell's Gate ARC, Glasshouse, Lies of Locke Lamora) and I am waiting for the sequel. However this was a book I really was disposed to like unless it was poorly written and the books published by Pyr are in my opinion of an overall higher quality than average, the percentage of books I own (though some from British editions) is the highest of all the publishers (about 45% of books published until now). To me the biggest positive surprise of this year is Infoquake which is a type of book I usually like or dislike, but very rarely really love.

    Liviu

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  7. I am so glad you liked CROSSOVER. I think the whole series is fantastic and only gets better from a great start. I suspect fans of the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA would also like it, and, synchronistically, it shares a lot of the same concerns about artificial life and the rights thereof. (And also has a lot of sex). Also glad you liked INFOQUAKE. I'm very proud to have published that book. Don't know if you've seen the recent debate on Charles Stross' blog about "what's wrong with American" SF, but I think INFOQUAKE is a book that looks (somewhat) optimisitically at a near-future scenario. And David was compared favorably to Vinge (the one author Stross singles out) in a recent B&N review.

    Meanwhile, I think CROSSOVER is a book that could be called both Space Opera and Military SF, while being, as you kindly say, "of a higher quality than average."

    We're lucky to have both authors.

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  8. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Hi,

    If you want to "niche" it, Crossover is space opera, while Infoquake is cyber/nano/bio whatever. When the main thrust of a book is adventure in a multiplanet world, that is pure space opera, when the main thrust is adventure on Earth/Solar System and some extended technology/disaster from today (including the overhyped singularity, global warming, killer virus) that is cyber/nano/bio whatever. This last "niche" to me suffers from the (natural since this is how we think - today is an extension not a revolution of yesterday) tendency of linear prediction, so a book of this type needs interesting characters to be really good. And Infoquake has several such characters, Natch and Jara, but Brone and the powers to be too. On the other hand well done space opera evokes the sense of wonder that is what makes sf unique. So overall, I am predisposed to like a space opera book, while a cyber/nano... or generic fantasy for that matter has to "convince" me to like it. Military sf is either close to space opera (D. Weber, J. Scalzi) or carnography, and the last I generally avoid, though there are some authors whom I like for style (such books need lots of cynicism and black humour for me).

    Liviu

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  9. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Hi,

    If you want to "niche" it, Crossover is space opera, while Infoquake is cyber/nano/bio whatever. When the main thrust of a book is adventure in a multiplanet world, that is pure space opera, when the main thrust is adventure on Earth/Solar System and some extended technology/disaster from today (including the overhyped singularity, global warming, killer virus) that is cyber/nano/bio whatever. This last "niche" to me suffers from the (natural since this is how we think - today is an extension not a revolution of yesterday) tendency of linear prediction, so a book of this type needs interesting characters to be really good. And Infoquake has several such characters, Natch and Jara, but Brone and the powers to be too. On the other hand well done space opera evokes the sense of wonder that is what makes sf unique. So overall, I am predisposed to like a space opera book, while a cyber/nano... or generic fantasy for that matter has to "convince" me to like it. Military sf is either close to space opera (D. Weber, J. Scalzi) or carnography, and the last I generally avoid, though there are some authors whom I like for style (such books need lots of cynicism and black humour for me).

    Liviu

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  10. Interesting categorization. In this Asimov's "On Books" column, Norman Spinrad raised the idea that it couldn't be Space Opera by definition if it connected the dots from here to there, yet pointed out that John Meaney's Nulapeiron Sequence did just that. Meanwhile, Chris Roberson's written-but-not-published space opera does the same, moving a protagonist from a near-future setting into a far-future one (a la Buck Rogers). Interesting to me that what you respond to in Space Opera is the disconnect, in light of the recent discussion on Charles Stross' blog about American SF writers being afraid to fast near-futures. I would not have thought to couple sensawunder with a nonlinear projection.

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  11. Anonymous9:06 PM

    Nulapeiron is space opera; Paradox is a masterpiece while Context and Resolution are very good, and even To Hold Infinity though not like the other 3, is still a pretty good book and to some extent is enhanced by Nulapeiron though both chronologically and published before. It is very hard to top a book like Paradox... Peter Hamilton's Confederation and Commonwealth books are space operas also, though especially in the later series there is a clear path from here to there going through Mispent Youth.
    My problem with most near future books (what I call nano/cyber/bio...) is that they take and amplify one element of today's society and do it in a linear fashion by and large; that tends to conflict with my historical sense of how societies evolve unless of course there are interesting characters I care about and then I tend to gloss over that. Often I do a thought experiment of imagining myself as an educated early imperial roman, renaissance european, late 18th century european, late 19th century european (male) in today's world and what would be odd, what would not be, and then extrapolate from that to the setting of a given book and its time frame...

    Liviu

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  12. I hear you. I am often frustrated by books, whether historicals or deep futures, which present human beings as essentially unchanged. To site an example from popular media, I cringed at the Christmas Tree in STAR TREK: GENERATIONS. The Christmas tree in its current form is hardly a century old - to think it would be around the same in 4 centuries time is nonesense. FUTURAMA had a more realistic presentation of the future of Xmas that anything else I've seen.

    But I'm curious - did INFOQUAKE meet your criteria for non-linear projection, or succeed on the strength of character despite that?

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  13. Anonymous11:30 PM

    Hi,

    The future in Infoquake is reasonably interesting but is still kind of flatish (90's dot com at power n + nano speculations); the characters though are great, so I would say that characters are its main strength; the future society is not a minus, though not a big plus either.
    Compare to Paradox, where both the society and the characters are great pluses (the drawback being that it's hard to equal that so Context and Resolution come as very good but not great).
    The future in Crossover is also very interesting, and hopefully (from what I saw on the Australian edition blurb of Breakway) we see more of it too. And the split League/tech at all price - Federation/conservation of "essential humanity" plus enough tech seems to me very plausible at some point in the future. Of course the trouble with "essential humanity" is who gets to define that...
    Human society is very complex, possibly the most complex system in existence today in the observable universe (I include the human brain here which is the 2nd most complex system in my opinion), so reducing it to several characteristics while possible seems unlikely to me.

    Liviu

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  14. I think the "problem" you have with the latter books in the Nulapeiron Sequence is similar to my own take on China Mieville's Bas Lag books. PERDIDO STREET STATION was so visionary, so unique, that it will always remain my favorite of the three, even though the third book, IRON COUNCIL, is IMHO the strongest of the three (and probably the "best" book). Likewise, RESOLUTION shows Meaney at the top of his game, though it is PARADOX that broke the mold.

    Re: CROSSOVER - what impresses me most about Joel is his ability to handle all the myriad nuances of politics that spring up - from interplanetary to interpersonal - within the society he's constructed. It makes a lot of other worldbuilding seem flat.

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  15. Anonymous12:02 PM

    Hi,

    Yes, Context is a 9.5/10 and Resolution is a 10/10, but Paradox is a 15 so to speak.
    For me Scar was the best CM book (true I read PSS and Scar in that order but at the same time when the second was published). Scar was almost like a space opera on sea so to speak, while PSS would probably have blown me away if read in isolation. IC was a big dissapointment though. I hate marxism and the like with a passion and while I enjoyed quite a lot Market Forces say, IC was too ideologically the wrong way for me and I felt that there was nothing new from an inventive point of view as it was in Scar to compensate. Incidentally IC was criticized for the sexual orientation of its main protagonists which to me sounds ironic but true since the "comrades" are as puritanical and hypocritical as any Bible thumping conservative. Actually, switch the Bible for das Kapital (and the equivalent) and you would not know one from the other...

    Liviu

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  16. You indirectly raise an interesting point. I'm not a Marxist either, nor likely to be, but IRON COUNCIL ranks as one of my favorite books of the last ten years and possibly one of my favorite fantasy novels of all time (another is Moorcock's DANCERS AT THE END OF TIME trilogy). To what degree do we need to agree ideologically with our writers? I don't think very many people would agree with Heinlein's politics in STARSHIP TROOPERS, for example. And certainly Natch of INFOQAKE is NOT being held up as some sort of paragon of virtue. (Though I must say too that China surprised me with his conclusion for what it says about the possibility of revolution.)

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  17. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Hi,

    Personally I do not care that much about an author politics as long as I am not hammered with it in a novel. I even would have ignored the hammering in IC, if it would have shown us new things in the BasLag universe. I agree that it had its moments and I finished it, also I am awaiting eagerly CM's new novel scheduled for Feb 07 and bought (and enjoyed what I read from) his short story collection Looking for Jake. Just that IC was a dissapointment to me, though still above most fantasy novels which I ignore.
    Of the "classics" the one I read and enjoyed the most is AE Van Vogt, followed by Asimov and to a lesser extent A. Clarke (though ultimately pretty depressing I loved his Rama collaboration with G. Lee and the later's solo books in the Rama universe). I never got Heinlein most likely because I was not exposed to him at an appropriate age like I was with VanVogt and Asimov (a translated Space Beagle was one the books that I owned and read tons of times in my teens, and while Asimov's work was available only in english and I read french better before coming here so I struggled to read him - the big irony is that now I kind of struggle to read Dantec in french, there were radio serializations of his work that I used to miss school to listen to...).

    Liviu

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  18. There's an interesting discussion of the place of politics in SF and the degree to which contemporary events influence novelists going on right now at Meme Therapy: http://memetherapy.blogspot.com/2006/08/brain-parade-science-fictions-coded.html

    Personally, I am suspicious of anyone who says there is no influence of the surrounding world - too much a fish in water to me.

    I too read more Asimov than Clarke, though my staples were Lieber, Moorcock, Burroughs, etc... Most of my early SF was in the form of short fiction aggregated into anthologies.

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  19. Michael2:24 AM

    Hello. Was strolling through my local Borders today and Crossover caught my eye. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down until I had bought it. I was kind of loath to hand it to the clerk, for it would be out of my hands. Thank goodness for my "7th Sense", as I jokenly call it. My seventh sense is what alerts me, out of an entire store of books, the one or two books that I will buy and enjoy immensely. It hasn't failed me yet, and, so far (I've finished chapter 1) it appears it hasn't again.
    I'm very eager to finish the book, so I can read the second, whenever I can get my hands on the sequal. (Can you say "ebay"?)
    Also. The cover art is amazing. I love it. Why doesn't anyone sell large, framable prints of art like that? Screw horses in a meadow and babbling brooks. I want metalic skyscrapers and flying cars. ;-P
    -Michael B-
    -Fort Wayne, IN USA-

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  20. Michael,
    I'm very glad you are enjoying the book so far. I hope I can urge you to wait for our editions of Breakaway and Killswitch, but am grateful you allowed Crossover to catch your eye. Meanwhile, the artist Stephan Martiniere does sell prints of his work. I don't know if he has made one yet of Crossover, but I am sure he could be persuaded to if you wrote him through his website at http://www.martiniere.com/
    Please come back when you finish Crrossover and let me know how you found it.

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