The Barrow

1/29/08

True Fame: The Blade Itself Immortalized as a Comic

Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes's Unshelved, "the world's only daily comic strip set in a public library, "has just done a comic strip devoted to Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself.

Now, that's true fame!

Metatemporal Detective: Best of 2007

Claude Lalumière has posted his SF, Fantasy, and Horror in 2007: Recommended Reading list for LocusOnline.

One of ours pops up under Collections:

"Michael Moorcock's The Metatemporal Detective(Pyr) is good pulp-fuelled fun, filled with stories that deftly pastiche many modes of popular fiction, though these tales might be somewhat arcane for readers not overly familiar with Moorcock's multiverse and his recurring cast of dimension-hopping characters and doppelgangers."

1/28/08

Locus Online: Best of 2007

Jeff Vandermeer has posted his 2007: The Best of the Year list over on LocusOnline. I'm thrilled to see a few Pyr mentions.

From the Best Novels list:

"On the science fiction side, Ian McDonald reaffirmed his excellence with Brasyl,which contains three separate narrative strands describing the Brazil of past, present, and future. The novel is a tour de force of storytelling momentum, with a level of invention that represents a master at the top of his form. McDonald is an amazing stylist, yes, but here it’s all about motion. He does a wonderful job of including his trademark detailed and inventive description while making sure nothing in this complex, often beautiful novel is static."

and

"Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky,after a slow first seventy pages, knocked my socks off with its brilliant evocation of a quest through a parallel universe that has a strange river running through it. Unique in conception, like Larry Niven's Ringworld, this is the beginning to what should be an amazing SF-Fantasy series."

From the Best Anthologies list:

" Another first volume of a new original series, the Lou Anders-edited Fast Forward 1 featured thought-provoking speculative takes on making sense of our (post)modern world by, among others, Ken MacLeod, Gene Wolfe, and Nancy Kress. Consistently interesting, this SF anthology fills a gap, as most of the current spate of anthologies seems skewed toward the fantasy side of things."

And from Notable Reprints:

"...The Blade Itselfby Joe Abercrombie, a rough-and-tumble, bold new voice in the heroic fantasy ranks."

All good to read!

Tides: One of the Best Novels in Print

"If you pass this novel up, you will have missed what I think is one of the best novels of speculative fiction currently in print."

Yup. That's Grasping for the Wind.

On Scott Mackay's Tides.A novel from our first year.

'Nuf said.

Kay's New Website

Kay Kenyon has a totally revamped website, rebuilt around her Entire and the Rose series. Check it out here. And if you like what you see, drop by her livejournal and let her know. As she says, the new site features:
  • Inside views of the Universe Entire (Universe Extras)
  • How to get signed copies of Bright of the Sky in trade paper.
  • Full color artwork of the series covers by the phenomenal Stephan Martiniere.
  • Where Kay will be showing up around the country.
  • Sample of Kay's e-newsletter.

1/23/08

Mercenary has Mass

Don D'Ammassa's Critical Mass, on Mike Resnick's Starship: Mercenary:

"Wilson Cole and his crew are back for their third outing. ...The story is very episodic, chronicling their adventures as they perform a rescue mission, foil an extortion plot, and evacuate hospital, among other things. In each case, Cole is able to prevail through his wits as much as his gunnery, but of course the author has set the situation up that way. Although in a sense this is somewhat contrived, it isn't obvious and Resnick has come up with some clever ploys for outsmarting the bad guys. The characters are flimsier than in his more serious novels, but the storytelling is as good as ever and we genuinely regret it when he and his former ally, the Valkyrie, find themselves on opposite sides. The ability to write good space opera is increasingly a misplaced, if not entirely lost art, but Resnick knows how to draw on a hidden lode of it. Lightweight but genuine fun."

1/21/08

Before They Are Hanged: Beating the Middle Book Syndrome with a Starred Review

Before They Are Hanged (The First Law: Book Two)
Joe Abercrombie

This grim and vivid sequel to 2007’s The Blade Itself transcends its middle volume status, keeping the reader engaged with complicated plotting and intriguing character development... Abercrombie leavens the bloody action with moments of dark humor, developing a story suffused with a rich understanding of human darkness and light. (Mar.)

--Publishers Weekly, starred review, January 21, 2008

Paragaea: Old Fashion Aventure!

Comic book scribe Ron Fortier has posted a review of Chris Roberson's Paragaea: A Planetary Romanceon his Pulp Fiction Reviews site, and seems to have liked it.
"Hold on to your hats! When you open this book you are in for a rip-roaring, old fashion adventure in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burrough’s planet stories... Their quest is a lively action filled romp that I enjoyed to the max and was sorry to reach the end all too quickly. It does end with several unresolved plots that I hope will be handled in forthcoming sequels. Heironymous, Leena and Balam are three of the best adventure heroes ever created and I’m so happy to have made their acquaintance. It’s an experience I’d like to repeat and soon. So will you."

1/18/08

SciFiNow: Best of 2007

Just got the news that SciFiNow magazine, one of Britain's premiere sf media mags, has released their Best Books of 2007. And among the list, Ian McDonald's Brasyl,and Michael Moorcock's The Metatemporal Detective.

Here's the full list:

1) Halting State (Stross) - ORBIT
2) Stealing Light (Gibson) – TOR UK
3) Brasyl (McDonald) – PYR/GOLLANCZ
4) The Metatemporal Detective (Moorcock) - PYR
5) Helix (Brown) - SOLARIS

Congratulations to Ian and Mike! We're very proud.

1/17/08

Time-Drinking Never Tasted So Good

Author, editor, commentator Jeff Vandermeer interviews Michael Moorcock for Amazon's Omnivoracious blog today, talking about the origins of the Seaton Begg character in his recently released The Metatemporal Detective. The interview is a hoot, and well worth checking out in full, but here is a taste:

Amazon.com: Which of the following best describes your metatemporal detective, Seaton Begg (and why): “time-drunk slave to his insatiable appetites”, “linear successor to the hardboiled eccentrics of Dashiell Hammett,” “debonair ladies man who hardly has time out of the sack to solve crimes.”

Michael Moorcock: All of them.

Year's Best SF & Fast Forward 1

Rich Horton has announced the contents of his upcoming Science Fiction: The Best of the Year: 2008, and I'm happy to report that two stories from my anthology, Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge,have made the list.

The stories, Paul Di Filippo's "Wikiworld," and Ken MacLeod's "Jesus Christ, Reanimator." Congratulations, guys!

SFSite's Best of 2007

Greg L. Johnson of SFSite has posted his Best of 2007 list, a list of "the ten science fiction and fantasy books that I liked the most in 2007." And wouldn't you know it, Pyr takes the # 2 and # 1 spot.

Greg's #2 choice for 2007 is Ian McDonald's Brasyl,of which he says, "With wit and stunning imagery, Ian McDonald takes us to a near-future, and a distant past, that is as strange as any alien world. ...a story that masterfully blends history, character, Portuguese street slang and cosmological speculation, meeting both the requirements of hard SF and literary style along the way."

And coming in at #1, Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky,which "lies somewhere between Gene Wolfe's The Book of the Sun and Karl Schroeder's Ventus, and was, for me, the one book of the year that, once I started reading, was impossible to put down."

Congratulations to both Ian and Kay!



1/16/08

Politics and Action: Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together

There were two things that drew me to Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kresnov series initially. The first was that his was the first prose work that I'd encountered that fully embraced and explored the ramifications of a totally integrated mind-to-net world, in a way I'd never seen done in prose SF before, but had seen only in the manga (not the anime) Ghost in the Shell. I mean, we all remember Case and Molly in each others heads from way back, but I'd yet to encounter a novel in which the entire population was chipped, with multiple conversation threads and images zipping around between everyone. And since this is pretty much where I think we're heading in the real world, I was surprised it took me till Joel to see it anywhere outside of manga. (I'm sure there are other examples, our own David Louis Edelman being one, but I'm talking my perspective.)

The second was the way he so seamlessly interwove action and political intrigue, and the coin toss it was to decide which was the more gripping. So it was really gratifying to see so many reviews stating things like "I can't wait to get through the action to the next political discussion." Not something you expect to see, right? Since then, I've held Joel up many times as the epitome of what a good SF novel can be - I mean, it has synthetic warrior women leaping out of flying cars with machine guns blazing, and is also a masterful examination of what it means to be human and the ramifications of artificial life, chocked full of strong female protagonists. It's smart, it's deep, it's fast-paced, it's action packed, it would make a hell of a good movie or tv series, and it's quintessential SF.

So this latest review from Rob H. Bedford of SFFWorld makes me smile. Since it just confirms everything above, "I also found the political maneuvering to parallel the action very well, much like the previous two volumes. Shepherd’s adept hand at balancing these two differently flavored adrenaline inducing types of scenes continues to be a strong point in his writing."

See? Rob continues, "Another strength that comes to the fore in Killswitchis that Shepherd doesn’t offer easy answers to his character’s problems. The relationship between Vanessa Rice and Sandy has been both intense and a walk across eggshells. Although these two do try to confront the tension between them, it doesn’t fully become resolved. I found this to be somewhat refreshing."

Hey hey!

He concludes, "With this trilogy complete, Shepherd has proven his ability to deliver politically and action charged science fiction. ...the books stand well together as good action-packed Science Fiction. Kresnov is a strong character and a very human non-human character at that. Killswitch is a nice ending to the trilogy and a culmination of Sandy’s journey."

Thanks Rob. I couldn't agree more!

1/15/08

Starship: Mercenary Scores a Hit

Now this is interesting. Graeme of Graeme's Fantasy Book Reviews, admits to "not really being into science-fiction" and also & therefore to having never heard of multiple Hugo-winning author Mike Resnick. And to picking up Starship: Mercenarywithout having read books one and two in the series (why do people do that? Okay, we sent it him to review, but I know there are readers out there who do it too). So, coming in cold midway to the series without an over-abiding love for SF to fall back on, how did he find Mercenary?

Why, the book is "just the kind of sci-fi that I can see myself reading more of… it’s fun and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. A clever blend of ‘military sci-fi’ and ‘space opera’ that is just the job for a trip into work or a lazy weekend. Seven and a Half out of Ten."

Now, if that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.

1/14/08

Williams, Avery, McDonald, Oh My!

Sean Williams is interviewed on the wonderful Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast, available via iTunes and as a direct download. (Also interviewed, best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson.)

Meanwhile, The Book Swede takes us all the way back to our first season with a review of Fiona Avery's historical fantasy, The Crown Rose.Says the Swede, "This is a good read. It combines classic French history, with an even older story, with generally good, intriguing and likeable characterisations, and a very well imagined 13th century Paris. It does indeed has a certain YA feel to it, but certainly less than the cover would seem to indicate, and is quite a fun feel-good read, but with enough battles, etc to keep my interest! 8.5/10."

And Gardner Dozois has posted the contents of his forthcoming The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fifth Annual Edition. I'm thrilled that "Sanjeev and Robotwallah" by Ian McDonald has made the list, as it appeared originally in my own Fast Forward 1.Here's the full list at SFScope.

Finally, we've uploaded a few more book pages from our 2008 season. Click "Forthcoming" on the left to see if you are on the Pyr site, and if you are viewing this through a feed click here.

1/9/08

2nd Starred Review in PW for Kay Kenyon's Entire & the Rose

Publishers Weekly has given a starred review to Kay Kenyon's forthcoming A World Too Near. This is the second such for The Entire and The Rose series, as the first book, Bright of the Sky, was also starred (and went on to make their Best Books of the Year list too).

A World Too Near Kay Kenyon Pyr, $25 (456p) ISBN 978-1-59102-642-6

"The fate of two universes hangs in the balance in this intricately plotted sequel to Bright of the Sky (2007)....Tangled motivations, complex characters and intriguing world-building will keep readers on the edges of their seats."

Perfect timing too, as the paperback of Bright of the Sky
comes out next month. And I just finished reading the manuscript to book three, City Without End, and can't imagine it's going to do any less.

Gradisil Short-listed for the PKD Award

Big news this morning. Adam Roberts' Gradisilhas been short-listed for the Philip K. Dick Award. Congratulations, Adam!We're thrilled. (Remember: sample chapters online here.) Here's the full press release:

2007 Philip K. Dick Award Nominees Announced

The judges of the 2007 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia SF Society are pleased to announce seven nominated works that comprise the final ballot for the award:

GREY by Jon Armstrong (Night Shade Books)
UNDERTOW by Elizabeth Bear (Bantam Spectra)
FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF DR. BRAIN by Minister Faust (Del Rey)
NOVA SWING by M. John Harrison (Bantam Spectra)
GRADISIL by Adam Roberts (Pyr)
ALLY by Karen Traviss (Eos)
SATURN RETURNS by Sean Williams (Ace Books)

First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, March 21, 2008 at Norwescon 31 at the Doubletree Hotel Seattle Airport, SeaTac, Washington.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States. The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the award ceremony is sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society. Last year's winner was SPIN CONTROL by Chris Moriarty (Bantam Spectra) with a special citation to CARNIVAL by Elizabeth Bear
(Bantam Spectra). The 2007 judges are Steve Miller, Chris Moriarty (chair), Steven Piziks, Randy Schroeder, Ann Tonsor Zeddies.

For more information, contact the award administration:
David G. Hartwell (914) 769-5545.
Gordon Van Gelder (201) 876-2551
For more information about the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society,
http://www.psfs.org/:
Contact Gary Feldbaum (215) 563-2511
For more information about Norwescon: http://www.norwescon.org/:
Contact NorthWest SF Society: (360) 438-0871

1/5/08

Michael Moorcock: Top 50 English Language Writers since 1945

The Times Online have just released their list of The 50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945. Quite a few genre names on the list, including Tolkien, Lewis, Pullman and Rowling, and also, coming in at number 50, our own Michael Moorcock. They say, " Most of Moorcock’s 80-plus novels are unashamedly pulp. But he wins his place for a series of genre-crossing novels linked by a taste for metafictional devices — he often appears in them himself and characters occur and recur in 'historical' and 'fantasy' guises." They discuss his major works and his influences on such notables as William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd.

Meanwhile, Andrew McKie reviews The Metatemporal Detectivefor the Telegraph, in a piece called "Michael Moorcock: His Own Private Multiverse." McKie opens by crediting Moorcock with bringing the term Multiverse to quantum physicists and philosophers, then describes his latest as, "tremendous fun for fans of Sherlock Holmes, or perhaps Sexton Blake, so long as they are prepared for occasional forays into the milieu of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, as well as Robert E Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian... This is all pastiche, and Moorcock's fans will not be surprised to find that it is astoundingly sure-footed....I think it, on the whole, terrific. "

1/4/08

Killswitch: The Heroine Bionic Woman Should Have Been

JP on SF Signal gives Joel Shepherd's Killswitchfour and a half stars, with a review that says, "These books cry out for some type of screen (big or small) time. (I'm looking at you Sci Fi Channel. Convince Kate Beckinsale to play Cassandra and you won't be able to keep the SF fans from storming the channel.) ...If there's anything Shepherd can do well, it's action sequences. Everything you'd expect a synthetic being like Kresnov to do, she does. And Shepherd's prose brings it to life with widescreen clarity. This is the heroine the Bionic Woman should have been. Smart and supremely confident..."

JP says he even paused in his playing of a videogame to read. Can there be any higher praise in our current century?

For Your Consideration: Pyr Books I Edited in 2007

Since everybody's doing it, here's my 2007 output. Or rather, here are the 17 books that Pyr released in 2007, on which I served as editor, in order of appearance.

The Man Who Melted, Jack Dann (reprint)
Fast Forward 1, Edited by Lou Anders (anthology)
Gradisil, Adam Roberts
Keeping It Real, Justina Robson
Breakaway, Joel Shepherd
Bright of the Sky, Kay Kenyon
Context, John Meaney (paperback after hardcover)
Brasyl, Ian McDonald
The Hanging Mountains, Sean Williams
Hurricane Moon, Alexis Glynn Latner
Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future, Mike Resnick (reprint)
The Blade Itself, Joe Abercrombie
River of Gods, Ian McDonald (paperback after hardcover)
The Metatemporal Detective, Micheal Moorcock
Selling Out, Justina Robson
Killswitch, Joel Shepherd
Starship: Mercenary, Mike Resnick

More on these titles on the catalog page of the Pyr website, including substantial excerpts for many of them.

1/1/08

In with the New Year, Out with the Old

A few more end of the year round ups showing up.

John of SFSignal posts his 2007: A Year in Review - John's Take. He lists his personal favorite reads from the year - not necessarily all books published in 2007, but all books he read, liked, and rated a 4.5/5 or higher. Two Pyr books make the list: Martin Sketchley's The Liberty Gunand Mike Resnick's Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future.

Meanwhile, over at Futurismic, Tomas Martin takes A New Year's Look at 2007's Science Fiction. Listing his Top Five Books of 2007, we're pleased to see Joel Shepherd tying with himself in fifth place for Breakawayand Killswitch, Ian McDonald coming in at number three for Brasyl,and (thank you) a "special mention" for my own Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge.

Meanwhile, the interestingly titled The Breathing Corpse blog lists The Years Best Reads - Science Fiction. Mike Resnick's Starship: Pirateand New Dreams for Oldboth make the list with the comments that, "I read a bunch of Mike Resnick this year but these are the best. Starship: Mercenaryis out now and I'll be reading it soon. Resnick is now one of my favorite writers." Meanwhile, their 2008's Books I Can't Wait to Read includes several Resnick titles as well, including the forthcoming Stalking the Vampire: A Fable of Tonight.