Falling Sky

2/28/08

Grand Master Michael Moorcock

From the Science Fiction Writers of America:
The SFWA® Board of Directors and President Michael Capobianco are pleased to announce that writer and editor Michael Moorcock has been named Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master for 2008. The Grand Master represents SFWA's highest accolade and recognizes excellence for a lifetime of contributions to the genres of science fiction and fantasy.

Mr. Moorcock is the twenty-fifth writer recognized by Science FIction and Fantasy Writers of America as a Grand Master. He joins Robert A. Heinlein (1974), Jack Williamson (1975), Clifford D. Simak (1976), L. Sprague de Camp (1978), Fritz Leiber(1981), Andre Norton (1983), Arthur C. Clarke (1985), Isaac Asimov (1986), Alfred Bester (1987), Ray Bradbury (1988), Lester del Rey (1990), Frederik Pohl (1992), Damon Knight (1994), A. E. van Vogt (1995), Jack Vance (1996), Poul Anderson (1997), Hal Clement (1998), Brian Aldiss (1999), Philip Jose Farmer (2000), Ursula K. LeGuin (2003), and Robert Silverberg (2004), Anne McCaffrey (2005), Harlan Ellison (2006), and James Gunn (2007).

City Without End takes Silver Spectrum Award

A huge congratulations to Stephan Martiniere, whose cover illustration for the third book in Kay Kenyon's ongoing space opera quartet entitled The Entire and the Rose, the forthcoming City Without End, just won the Silver Spectrum award in the book category. All of Stephan's covers in this series have been amazing. Book one, Bright of the Sky,made the Spectrum annual the year it was released, and we're hearing good things about A World Too Near- which just hit shelves this week. (For a look at these two covers side by side, see Kay's website.) And now, unveiled here for the first time, the winning cover of City Without End. This is my favorite of the three "Entire" pieces, and maybe one of my favorite Martiniere illustrations ever.

What do you think?

Meanwhile, long as we're talking about The Entire and the Rose, I've just spotted some very thoughtful, articulate (and spoiler ridden) reviews of Bright of the Sky and A World Too Near up at SF Reviews. Of book one, they say, "If what you crave in your SF is a fresh and dynamic approach to world-building, wed to epic storytelling with believably flawed heroes and vividly imagined alien cultures, and you're frustrated that nobody seems to be bloody doing it, odds are you've been skipping over the Kay Kenyon novels every time you go to the bookstore." Meanwhile, looking at book two, they say, "...it must be said that at the end of the day, this series, exciting as it's turning out to be, is in many ways pure fantasy formula — just tricked out in the most gorgeous production values imaginable. But who cares if it's formula as long as the entertainment value is blowing your doors, right? A World Too Near is sweet, splendid entertainment. Kay Kenyon will have you solidly hooked with this series, and if you've never had her name down on your reading list before now, it's way past time you added it."

2/23/08

3 Pyr Books on the Best of the Best

Visions of Paradise aggregated the "Best of the Year" mentions from some twenty sources, including SF Site, Fantasy Magazine, Bookgasm, SFF World, Fantasy Book Critic, Strange Horizons, Locus Online, Locus Magazine, as well as award nominations for the BSFA, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Awards. They then listed the books which received the most mentions, to produce a "best of the best" list. The result - Ian McDonald's Brasylis the clear leader with 16 out of 20 mentions! Here is the full list, which also includes Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself with seven mentions and Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Skywith five.

2/22/08

"Pride" Makes Nebula Awards Shortlist

A very big congratulations to Mary A. Turzilo, whose story "Pride" from Fast Forward 1: Future Fiction from the Cutting Edge,makes the Nebula Awards Shortlist for best short story. You can read "Pride" online as a PDF too. Here's the full category:
  • “Unique Chicken Goes In Reverse”, Andy Duncan, (Eclipse 1: New Science Fiction And Fantasy, Jonathan Strahan, Ed., Night Shade Books, Oct07)
  • “Titanium Mike Saves the Day”, David D Levine, (F&SF, Apr07)
  • “Captive Girl”, Jennifer Pelland, (Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, WS & LWE, Ed., Oct06 (Fall06 issue — #2))
  • “Always”, Karen Joy Fowler, (Asimov’s, May07 (Apr/May07 issue))
  • Pride”, Mary Turzillo, (Fast Forward 1, Pyr, February 2007)
  • “The Story of Love”, Vera Nazarian, (Salt of the Air, Prime Books, Sep06)

2/21/08

Richard Morgan -- Best Literature Picks of 2007

Over on Green Man Review, Richard Morgan posts his Best Literature Picks of 2007, where he asks, "What was 2007 good for, literarily speaking?" and looks at literature, poems, graphic novels, even one videogame, that make an "elevated grade." Of Ian McDonald's Brasyl,he says, "lush, sweeping in scope, studded with technological gems and as brightly sparkling as the cityscapes two thirds of the book take place in, this is a worthy follow up to Macdonald’s award winning River of Gods;...Brasyl comes on at you with the rapid percussive beat of carnaval, and like the itch of samba in your hips, will not be denied."

2/18/08

Kay Kenyon on the Road

Kay Kenyon (Bright of the Sky, A World Too Near) is back from RadCon. Here is her report.

Missed seeing Kay? Then you can catch her at one of these:

ConDor, Feb 29-Mar 2, San Diego, CA.

OmegaCon, Mar 13- 16, Birmingham, AL

A Book For All Seasons, Saturday, Mar 22 1:00-3:00, Leavenworth, WA, signing.

Read It Again Books, Monday, Mar 24, 6:30 p.m.
11 Palouse St, Wenatchee, WA (509) 662-2093, signing

University Bookstore, Apr 9, 7:00 p.m., Seattle, WA, signing with Louise Marley also known as Toby Bishop of Airs Beneath the Moon fame.

Readercon, July 17 - 20, Burlington MA

World Fantasy, Oct 30 - Nov 2, Calgary, AB Canada

Moorcock & Picacio in Texas Signing

Michael Moorcock and John Picacio will be signing copies of the new, illustrated editon of Elric: The Stealer of Souls at Austin Books this Saturday. Copies of The Metatemporal Detective, with its matching Picacio cover illustration, will also be on hand, I'm told.

Details:

Austin Books
5002 North Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751
Austin Books · info@austinbooks.com · (512) 454-4197

Saturday, February 23rd, 4pm-7pm

Erudite, Intriguing, Perceptive & Disquieting

Publishers Weekly, on Theodore Judson's forthcoming The Martian General's Daughter:

"Despite its pulpish title, this erudite and intriguing novel is more in the tradition of Robert Graves than Edgar Rice Burroughs. ...Judson (Fitzpatrick’s War) chronicles the last glories of the empire as viewed by Black’s illegitimate daughter, whose own rise from unwanted embarrassment to valued adviser and aide parallels her father’s career. The story might be familiar to today’s readers from the film Gladiator, but the parallels it draws between Roman and American cultures are both perceptive and disquieting."

SFFWorld's Favorite Books of 2007

SFFWorld’s readers have voted for their favorite books of 2007, and we're thrilled that Before They Are Hangedtops the list (this refers to the UK edition, as the US edition was just released). What's more, Joe Abercrombie appears twice, with The Blade Itselftying with the wonderful Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora at # 5. Here's the full list:
  1. Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (105 points)
  2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (96 points)
  3. Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson (63 points)
  4. Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb (54 points)
  5. The Lies of Locke Lamora* by S. Lynch & The Blade Itself* by J. Abercrombie (41 points)
  6. The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien (32 points)
  7. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (31 points)
  8. The Thousandfold Thought* by R. Scott Bakker (28 points)
  9. The Orphan’s Tales: In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente
Also delighted to see that The Devil's Right Hand author Lilith Saintcrow praises The Blade Itself on her blog, Writer on the Dark Side: "This is fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, but without the complete lack of verite most fantasy is infected with... There’s wizards, mythology, kings, princes, a self-absorbed nobleman, ancient legends, fencing–all written so well I was grinding my teeth with envy whenever I HAD to put the book down. This is a fantastic start to a trilogy, and I can’t wait to get the next two books so I can see what happens next. There are some tropes, true, but they’re handled so deftly and characterised so beautifully they take on the status of old friends instead of worn-out archetypes. In short, I can’t say enough good things about this book, and I highly recommend it."

Thank you, Lilith. Wait till you get to book two!

2/17/08

Midnight Baseball and the Waldo

SFSignal runs an interview with Mike Resnick, of which my favorite bit is:

Science fiction is often accused of being The Great Predictor. Which predictions did Golden Age science fiction get right? Which ones were way off the mark?

MR: In terms of essentially trivial things, it predicted plastics, night baseball, waldoes, and half a hundred other things early fans used to point to with pride. I think it missed most of our major breakthroughs: the fall of the Soviet Empire, the cure for polio, the huge influx of Hispanics into the USA, the fact that cancer is less of a killer these days and more of a chronic disease, the near-extinction of the passenger trains that made it possible for us to populate the continent, the emergence of HIV, even the proliferation of computers. The most important off-the-mark was the fact that almost no one predicted that once we got into space, reached the Moon, landed on Mars, the public would be totally uninterested and apathetic.

2/15/08

Can You Handle Another Best of the Year List?

SFSite has posted their "Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2007: Readers' Choice" and I'm delighted to see Joe Abercrombie's Before They Are Hangedat number five (here for the UK edition, as our edition was just released this month and hasn't found its way into all venues yet), as well as, not surprisingly, Ian McDonald's Brasylat number three.

Of the latter, they say, "McDonald masterfully explores some key sfnal concepts and pivotal alternative science. Wrap your head around this book if you want to see what truly ingenious science fiction can look like."

Brasyl: Shattering the Plane of the Ecelptic

Jetse de Vries, one of the co-editors of Interzone, has an incredibly insightful analysis of Ian McDonald's Brasylon his blog, In the Plane of the Ecliptic. Major Spoiler Warning: This is for folks who already know how the book ends. But if you do, well worth reading.

2/14/08

Locus Online: 2007 SF/F/H Books on Year's Best Lists

Locus Online has tabulated the science fiction, fantasy and horror books that have appeared on various year's best lists, inluding Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Library Journal, Salon.com, New York Times, and Los Angeles Times, as well as genre publications SF Site, Bookgasm, Fantasy Magazine, and Strange Horizons. Also tabulated are Jeff VanderMeer and Claude Lalumière's essays for Locus Online. The present the 12 most cited works, and I'm very proud to see both Ian McDonald's Brasyl(appearing on five lists) and Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky(3 lists). Of course, if they'd included the recent American Library Association’s Reading List Awards, then those numbers would have been 6 and 4!

2/13/08

Before They Are Hanged: The Wait is Over

Just alerted to the fact that Before They Are Hanged (The First Law: Book Two)is shipping from Amazon already, about a month ahead of it's scheduled release. Get 'em while they're hot.

Calico Reaction's Favorite Reads 2007

Street Teamer Calico Reaction has posted a list of her Favorite Reads: 2007. Delighted to see Justina Robson's Keeping It Realon the list. Also, Calico is holding a contest to give one lucky winner the book of their choice from her list.

2/11/08

Get in Touch with Your Inner Troll

Graeme's Fantasy Review reaches back to our very first season with a review of Charles Coleman Finlay's fantasy, The Prodigal Troll,a tale of a human troll lost in the wild as a baby and raised by a band of the reclusive fantasy creatures. Graeme gives the book seven out of ten and says, "The story itself is a good blend of worldbuilding and plot, balanced just right so you don’t get too much of either one or the other. ...an engaging read both in style and content and really got me into the ‘troll mindset’ that the author was aiming for. It ends on a cliffhanger and I for one want to know what happens next."

Meanwhile, Grasping for the Wind has this to say: "Finlay’s exploration of the way humans interact with each other and the effect of war, love and the exotic on the human psyche is fun to read. Written in epic fantasy style, Finlay proves that epics do not have to take twelve volumes, or even a trilogy, to delve into the enigma that is humanity. Finlay writes with a wonderful cadence, inserting action at just the right moments, but allowing his characters time for introspection as well, but never so much has to slow the pace. The ebb and flow of the plot makes The Prodigal Troll a stay up all night read."

2/6/08

ALA's Reading List Awards

Via SFSignal: The American Library Association's first Reading List Awards for genre fiction has been announced. The list, chosen by a council of "ten librarians who are experts in readers' advisory and collection development" includes two Pyr titles: Ian McDonald's Brasyland Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky.

Woo-hoo!

2/4/08

A Trio of Pyr Positives

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist calls Kay Kenyon's Bright of the Sky,"another quality read courtesy of Pyr," and suggests, as others have done, that the book will appeal to readers of both science fiction and fantasy. He further say, "High stakes, skilled worldbuilding, good characterization, adroit pacing: Bright of the Sky is a superior read.

Tomas L. Martin's Darrkeworld posts two Pyr reviews originally destined for SFCrowsnest.

Of The Blade Itself, by Joe Abercrombie, he says, "Many have compared his work to that of Tad Williams and George R. R. Martin and the comparisons are not reaching. The books have a strong sense of plot, that there is an intricate plan behind the events of the book, something rare in a first novel. The main characters are a huge draw...The dark characterisation brings new life to the fantasy genre and the complex moralities of the protagonists is a real joy. Even the minor characters seem colourful and realised, with strong dialogue and difficult choices for all involved."

Meanwhile, turning to David Louis Edelman's Infoquake,Tomas says, "although at first I doubted his choice of protagonist, the ambitious and ruthless business figure of Natch becomes a hero rather than antihero through clever use of flashback and other characters' point of view. The story is developed well and the business side of this biotech based future is astonishingly believable. It's remarkable to have a novel that's packed with action, excitement and tension when the action itself is more what you'd see in the Financial Times or Wall Street Journal. With the sequel, MultiRealout later in 2008 you'd be well advised to pick this one up and refresh your memory on one of 2006's great debuts. Pyr continue to release excellent and above all fresh content. Long may it continue."

Thanks, guys!

Update: Jeff Vandermeer comments on his Locus Best of the Year recommendations on Amazon's Omnivoracious blog. Speaking of Bright of the Sky: "This one's for readers who loved Ringworld by Larry Niven but also for fantasy readers who love great fantasy quests. How can that be, you might ask? It's set primarily in a strange alternative universe but also in the future of our universe. I think the cover, in this case, says it all: the book is exotic, beautiful, and daring."

See?

Update Update: Graeme's Fantasy Review also chimes in on Bright of the Sky, calling out the Pat's Fantasy Hotlist review above, and calling the work, "a remarkable beginning to a series that I am looking forward to seeing more of. Great stuff!"