Falling Sky

3/31/08

Live Life to the Fullest

The Buffalo News's Jane Kwiatkowski profiles the founder of Pyr's parent company, Prometheus Books, in "Paul Kurtz's philosophy? Live life to the fullest." If you're curious...

3/28/08

Starlog on Killswitch: Tight and Crackling!

Starlog on Killswitch:

"Shepherd continues to improve with each installment. Readers who have been wanting a far more intense story will find themselves amply
rewarded as Shepherd puts his remarkable heroine through her paces. As with the previous novels, there are shifts between a great many characters also vying for attention, but the writing here is tight and crackling and turns the entire trilogy into an excellent adventure, with the spotlight clearly on Cassandra."

Brasyl works for Brazilians!

Jacques Barcia has posted a review of Brasylat Human 2.0. "McDonald was able to capture, with amazing precision, th Brazilian spirit. And he did this without clichés, without hullabaloos, but with critical observations regarding the importance Brazilian people gives to beauty, soccer and TV. Besides, geographically everything is right and linguistically, it is better than most foreigners trying the language of Camões."

The conclusion: Despite a great deal of Portuguese mispellngs, Brasyl is "A hell of an accomplishment for a gringo, definitely Brasyl is a book Brazilians must read."

3/25/08

The 2008 Pyr Sampler eBook

We've just made a 326-page sample book we printed to give out at conventions available as a free PDF-format ebook. It contains sizable excerpts from 7 of our 2008 titles and is online for download here from both the catalog and forthcoming book pages. If you are viewing this on the pyrsf.com (as opposed to the pyrsf.blogspot.com page), click "catalog" and "forthcoming" in the menu bar on your left, or you'll get a window in a window, and who knows where it will end.

Excerpts are from Joe Abercrombie's Before They Are Hanged, Kay Kenyon's A World Too Near, Theodore Judson's The Martian General's Daughter, Robert Silverberg's Son of Man, David Louis Edelman's MultiReal, and Mike Resnick's Stalking the Unicorn and Stalking the Dragon.

Happy Reading!

Pyr Honored with Four Major Award Nominations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 24, 2008

CONTACT: Jill Maxick

800-853-7545, jmaxick@prometheusbooks.com

Pyr Honored with Four Major Award Nominations

Pyr Gets Two Hugo® Nominations plus Two Authors up for

John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award!

Amherst, NY—Pyr, the highly acclaimed science fiction and fantasy imprint of Prometheus Books, is proud to announce that its Editorial Director, Lou Anders, and three of its authors have been nominated for highly esteemed awards in science fiction:

  • Lou Anders for Best Professional Editor, Long Form Hugo® Award
  • Ian McDonald’s Brasyl for Best Novel Hugo® Award
  • Joe Abercrombie (The Blade Itself) for John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award
  • David Louis Edelman (Infoquake) for John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award

The Hugo® Award is the leading award for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. For the second year in a row, Pyr Editorial Director Lou Anders has been nominated for the Hugo® for Best Professional Editor, Long Form in recognition of his ability to produce a high-quality and intelligent line of science fiction and fantasy titles. Anders says, “I am personally very honored to be nominated for a second year in a row… but when one honors an editor, what they are really doing is sending along an endorsement of that editor's tastes, so I am over the moon to see a book from Pyr in the ‘Best Novel’ category and two Pyr authors on the Campbell list."

USA Today called Ian McDonald’s Brasyl—up for the Hugo® for Best Novel—“the most rewarding science fiction in recent memory.” McDonald, hailed by Asimov’s Science Fiction as “one of the most interesting and accomplished science fiction writers of this latter-day era, indeed maybe the most interesting and accomplished,” comments on this nomination: “As they say, the honor is simply being nominated. I'm thrilled to have been nominated for Brasyl (even if, as umpteen Brazilians have told, my spelling is terrible!) —but what's especially exciting is that it's a double whammy: for me, and for Lou Anders as editor (and a real old school hands-on editor) as creative director of Pyr. This, I hope, is the first of many for the ballsiest imprint in SF.”

The John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award is given to the best new writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy appearing in a professional publication was published in the previous two years. Nominee Joe Abercrombie’s best-selling fantasy debut The Blade Itself: The First Law: Book One has earned him much praise and the designation by Locus as “a rough-and-tumble, bold new voice in the heroic fantasy ranks.” With the same dark wit that colors his novels, Abercrombie says, I’m delighted to have been nominated, especially at a time when there are so many great new authors coming out. My Uruk Hai hit squad are already on their way to Wisconsin to ‘dramatically reduce’ the chance of a Scott Lynch victory. They may well stop by David Anthony Durham’s house on the way back …”

David Louis Edelman is also up for the John W. Campbell Award: “I'm beyond thrilled to be nominated for the Campbell Award. It's an honor to even be mentioned in the same sentence as the other esteemed nominees. I feel especially honored considering I only had one eligible published work, Infoquake, during the 2006-2007 time period.” SFF World called Infoquake “A stunning debut novel by a lucid, precise, and talented new voice…This may be THE science fiction book of the year.”

Prometheus Books and Pyr congratulate Lou Anders, Ian McDonald, Joe Abercrombie and David Louis Edelman for their outstanding work. We are proud to be associated with such talent and quality.

3/22/08

Brasyl Wins the BSFA award

The British Science Fiction Association Awards were given out at this weekend's Eastercon in London. I'm very happy to hear that Ian McDonald's Brasylwas the winner in the novel category. Congratulations to Ian and to his editor at Gollancz, that man of impeccable tastes, the wonderful Simon Spanton!

(Ian also took the 2005 BSFA for River of Gods,and the 2006 short fiction award for "The Djinn's Wife," set in the world of River. Look for a collection of these future-India short stories, Cyberabad Days, in early '09.)

3/21/08

3 Years Old - Happy Birthday Pyr

I just realized Pyr is three years old this month. Let's recap, shall we:
  • 2008 Hugo Award nominee - Best Novel: Ian McDonald, Brasyl
  • 2008 Hugo Award nominee - Best Professional Editor, Long Form: Lou Anders
  • 2008 John W. Campbell Best New Science Fiction Writer Award nominee: Joe Abercombie, David Louis Edelman
  • 2008 Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award nominee: Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself
  • 2008 Silver Spectrum Award - Book Cover: Stephan Martiniere’s illustration for Kay Kenyon’s forthcoming City Without End
  • 2008 Nebula Award nominee: Mary Turzillo’s “Pride” (published in Fast Forward 1)
  • 2007 American Library Association’s Reading List Awards: Ian McDonald’s Brasyl, Kay Kenyon’s Bright of the Sky
  • 2007 Philip K. Dick Award nominee: Adam Roberts, Gradisil
  • 2007 Quill Award nominee: Ian McDonald, Brasyl
  • 2007 Hugo Award nominee - Best Professional Editor, Long Form: Lou Anders
  • 2007 Chesley Award winner - Best Cover Illustration: Stephan Martiniere's cover for Ian McDonald's River of Gods
  • 2007 Chesley Award nominee - Best Art Director: Lou Anders
  • 2006 World Fantasy Award nominee - Special Award, Professional: Lou Anders
  • 2006 John W. Campbell Award for Best Novel nominee: David Louis Edelman, Infoquake
  • 2006 Independent Publisher Book Award winner: John Meaney, Paradox
  • 2005 Philip K Dick Award nominee: Justina Robson, Silver Screen
  • 2006 John W Campbell Best New Science Fiction Writer nominee: Chris Roberson
  • 2005 John W Campbell Best New Science Fiction Writer nominee: Chris Roberson
Not too shabby for three years, no?

2008 Hugo Awards Nominations List

The 66th World Science Fiction Convention has made public the 2008 Hugo Nomination List. And I am delighted to report that, counting the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer, Pyr has no less than four people on the ballot!

In the Best Novel category - Ian McDonald's Brasyl(published by Gollancz in the UK)

In the category of Best Professional Editor, Long Form - Yours Truly

And up for the John W. Campbell, both Joe Abercrombie (who I share with Gollancz) and David Louis Edelman.

I also have to extend my congratulations to three artists who have graced Pyr covers, Bob Eggleton, Stephan Martiniere, and John Picacio. And to our author Mike Resnick, for his Hugo nomination in the short story category for "Distant Replay" (published in Asimov's April/Nay 2007 issue).

A huge congratulations to all the nominees across the board!

3/20/08

Killswitch: Thoughtful and Action Packed!

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review on Joel Shepherd's final Cassandra Kresnov book, Killswitch:

“This year it already feels like I’ve read more sci-fi than I did in the whole of last year and this is mostly down to my having had the good fortune of getting stuck into Joel Shepherd’s ‘Cassandra Kresnov’ books. The bottom line is that I think they’re brilliant and incredibly easy to get sucked into, the most fun I’ve had with sci-fi in a long time…Placing all three books together shows how well the author has done at plotting a story that goes on for longer than one book. There’s a real sense of progression throughout the trilogy and, for the most part, everything is wrapped up neatly in the closing chapters. There’s scope for more adventures here and I’d certainly pick up more ‘Kresnov’ books if they were ever written…an intelligent and engaging read that will appeal to anyone who likes their sci-fi thoughtful and action packed at the same time. Highly recommended by me! Nine out of Ten.”

Kay Kenyon in the Wenatchee World

I love Kay Kenyon. In the past two days, I've been talking with a journalist at a major newspaper about "big idea" science fiction and with a major chain buyer about women who write science fiction (as opposed to fantasy), and I've been involved in a discussion of cover art with both said buyer and SFSignal, so how could Kay Kenyon's name not come up in all of this? Beautifully written, mind-expanding sensawunder with cover illustrations to match.

Kay is interviewed by The Wenatchee World this week. And - lo and behold! - she's talking about all three of these topics too! Speaking about the protagonist of A World Too Near,she says, "hes, he's almost an antihero, in a way, because he has some bad-boy qualities, and he's thumbing his nose to some extent at the status quo. Although I meant to suggest that he's becoming seduced by the grace and the monumental scope of the Entire — and he's in this dilemma of loving this new world, but realizing that he was too co-opted by it last time around. The last time he was there, he was a prince of the Demon City, if you will, and he has this guilt about that. Yet he can't help himself that he loves it still. And that need to have redemption from past actions, and the love of the Entire — I think they fight with each other and make for an interesting internal story."

3/19/08

On Books: The Multiverse

Norman Sprinrad's latest On Books column for the April/May edition of Asimov's, "The Multiverse", is a direct response to a piece by Bruno Maddox appearing in Discovery Magazine,Blinded by Science: Fictional Reality,” in which Maddox hauls out the tired old argument that in helping to build the present, science fiction is now obsolete. The article actually appeared back in July, 2007, and Norman's response was composed then (and kindly forwarded to me at the time, which is how it ends up quoted in the forward to Sideways In Crime),but Asimov's has taken their time getting around to publishing it.

In the meantime, the SF is Dead nonsense has cropped up again, in io9.com's "5 Reasons to Stop Reading Science Fiction." To be fair, io9 isn't so much making this claim, as aggregating five other sources who complain about the problems of writing SF in the SFnal world we inhabit now, the mainstream colonization of SF tropes, the intrusion of fantasy, the graying of fandom, and the disappearance of mass-market distribution.

But to them, and to Maddox, Spinrad offers this brilliant, elegant, and ultimate rebuttal:

Picture the sincere writer of serious science fiction—someone really trying to do the job—as standing in the bow of a boat in a moment we might call the present. The boat is human history and all scientific knowledge available in that moment, and the waters that the boat is sailing through is the ocean of time. The science fiction writer is riding the vessel of all that knowledge, and his or her mission is to peer ahead from that vantage into the fog-bank of the future ahead of the boat utilizing all the knowledge upon which he or she stands, “stands on the shoulders of giants,” as this sort of thing is often put.

Thus, while the accumulation of scientific and other forms of knowledge as well as the profusion of technological innovation may be accelerating as the boat sails forward through the sea of time, no matter how fast it goes, no matter how much cargo is accumulating in the hold, the science fiction writer is always standing in the bow of the boat looking forward.

That is why it is impossible for science, technology, evolution, or history to render science fiction obsolete. There are all too many ways that a civilization can end up destroying science fiction as a commercially viable literature or even as a visionary mode of thought, but the necessary visionary function performed by science fiction in a progressively evolving civilization can never be rendered obsolete. If nothing is performing that visionary function, it is the civilization in question that in the end renders itself obsolete, as has happened many times in world history.

That, in an of itself, is enough to make me kiss Norman's feet. But he goes on from there, in a response to Jim Gunn's assertion that Neuromancerwas the last work of science fiction to introduce a truly "big idea."

As counterpoint, Norman offers too big ideas that have emerged recently, the "Singularity" and what may "prove also to be its dialectic antithesis" - the Multiverse. He then makes a case that the notion of the Multiverse has moved from a literary construct to the frontline thinking in quantum phyisics, and in so doing, should be moving to the forefront of science fictional concern as well.

...quantum physics is now telling us is that the Multiverse is the ultimate reality, and not merely a literary construct. That a multiplicity of separate universes or realities must exist because of quantum indeterminacy.

...It is science which has fed science fiction an enormous morsel to attempt to chew on this time, and not the other way around. The Multiverse, it would appear, is not merely subjective perception, but the way things really are, the way our selves really are, our alternate selves, the truth of all existence on a quantum level.

To deal with this fictionally with anything like rigor, let alone convey it to the reader on an experiential and emotional level, is one daunting and even frightening task. But it is also a rich vein of thematic and speculative material only beginning to be mined on that level.

And then he goes on to look at three books that are mining it on just the level he describes.

One of them is Justina Robson's Keeping It Real,the first in her Quantum Gravity series, which Norman describes as, "Fantasy written as if it were science fiction. Like alternate-history fiction." He ties her book into multiple worlds theory when he says:

But whether Robson consciously intended to declare it or not when she titled the novel, keeping it real is just what Keeping It Real does, the “it” being that this Multiverse is literarily science fiction, not fantasy. Each of these alternate realities has its own more or less rigorous physical laws, call what’s going on magic or not.
Justina and I corresponded about this article recently, and she graciously grants permission for me to share her response here:
In case you wondered, the thing that he's talking about actually always was the point of the QG series, and I thought at the beginning I'd get to lay it out much sooner, but I've got 3 books down and still no sign of Quantum Bob ("But, Professor, how do these shattered worlds fit together?" "As you know, Bob, the nature of reality is the infinity -1 range of the external and internal worlds...")...

The reason for the fantastical nature of the few realities experienced in QG is down to the explosion of the internal into the external. The Quantum Bomb rendered, briefly, the distinction between internal (individual consciousness/mass consciousness) and external (physical, transphysical, temporal) irrelevant. In fact, that was more a revelation than an action as they probably always were interconnected to a much higher degree than contemporary views of reality (like the Dawkins' view) would ever countenance.
Which takes her a lot closer to what Norman is talking about when he talks about the need to convey the Multiverse to the reader "on an experiential and emotional level," something he says that Kathleen Goonan's In War Timesbegins to do when it uses the metaphors of jazz to portray shifting realities in her novel of alternate 1940s worlds. Norman says:
Kathleen Ann Goonan can’t overtly broach that concept in In War Times, since this is a period piece the maintenance of whose grounding in this wartime and early post-wartime past is absolutely essential for the novel to work. But she herself, writing in the present, does seem to comprehend it at least up to a point, and sidles up to it, using the progressive jazz of the period as an extended musical metaphor for the physics and metaphysics of the Multiverse.
Which brings us to Ian McDonald's Brasyl, which Norman says is able to take that last step and which confirms Ian McDonald as:
...one of the most interesting and accomplished science fiction writers of this latter-day era. Indeed, maybe the most interesting and accomplished, and certainly the most culturally and musically sophisticated—the Frank Herbert, William Gibson, or arguably even Thomas Pynchon of the early twenty-first century, if only the early twenty-first century would allow such a writer to reach that kind of eminence.
Norman asks if it is even possible to "use language to actually create the virtual experience of multiversal reality in the human mind," and, in examining Brasyl, he concludes that:
Ian McDonald actually does it. He succeeds in putting a human face on, putting a human consciousness within, the naked quantum Multiverse, the infinite multiplicity of universes branching out fractally from every moment of time, with the infinity of her alternate selves exfoliating within it, and delivering the experience to the reader.
The result, he says, is "A science fictional dialectic... for what other mode of literature can even begin to approach such material?" and also "the opening act of the science fiction of the twenty-first century."

Thank you, Norman, for reminding us that far from being dead, science fiction may only just getting started. For what are the few decades behind us in the face of a literal infinite array of possibility.

Fast Forward 2: "True Names" Podcast

I'm very happy to announce that my anthology Fast Forward 2 is set for an October 2008 publication date. I delivered the manuscript to my production manager just a few weeks ago. I think it's even stronger than Fast Forward 1, which is saying something since FF1 saw seven stories reprinted nine times in four “Year’s Best" anthologies!

One of the highlights of the second volume will undoubtedly be a 32,000 word collaboration between Benjamin Rosenbaum and Cory Doctorow. "True Names" is a tale of galactic wars between vast, post-Singularity intelligences that are competing to corner the universe’s supply of computation before the heat-death of the universe. The title is, of course, a homage to Vernor Vinge’s famous story of the same name. Writing on his blog, Rosenbaum says that "This story came out of a conversation at the Hugo Loser's party at Worldcon 2002 -- the part about 'the second law of thermodynamics as the ultimate party-spoiler in a transhuman utopia of self-spawning consciousness'; it acquired shades of Jane Austen, Voltaire, megamillion year ideological warfare, gender theory, coming-of-age story, and musical theater along the way."

For those wanting a preview, Rosenbaum and Doctorow have begun podcasting "True Names" here on Cory's site. Now here's a peak at the rest of the TOC:

Introduction: The Age of Accelerating Returns - Lou Anders
Catherine Drewe - Paul Cornell
Cyto Couture - Kay Kenyon
The Sun Also Explodes - Chris Nakashima-Brown
The Kindness of Strangers - Nancy Kress
Alone With An Inconvenient Companion - Jack Skillingstead
True Names - Cory Doctorow & Benjamin Rosenbaum
Molly’s Kids - Jack McDevitt
Adventure - Paul McAuley
Not Quite Alone in the Dream Quarter - Mike Resnick & Pat Cadigan
An Eligible Boy - Ian McDonald
SeniorSource - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Migration - Karl Schroeder and Tobias S. Buckell
Long Eyes - Jeff Carlson
The Gambler - Paolo Bacigalupi

Excited?

3/18/08

Joe Shoots His Mouth Off

A great interview with Joe Abercrombie over on SF UK Book News. Even though it deals with the conclusion of The First Law trilogy, there's no spoilers for us US folks. My favorite bit:

UKSFBN: Throughout The First Law you've taken great and deliberate delight in subtly subverting established fantasy conventions. Given that you freely confessed, last time you talked to us, to doing this on purpose, will you also admit to having increased the satire levels in the final volume, or has the trope-bashing been kept to a minimum this time around?

Joe Abercrombie: "The trope-bashing is certainly still going, more than ever in a way, since the trilogy is a single story and it perhaps diverges further and further from what the reader expects as we draw near to the end. Epic fantasy is a genre full of clichés, so you can't really write in it without reacting to them yourself in some way – whether you embrace them, consciously reject them, or try to twist them to your own evil purposes.

"But, you know, for all the attempts to do something surprising and rework the formula and all that, I hope that what I've delivered first and foremost is a cracking fantasy tale. I'm aiming more for Unforgiven than for Blazing Saddles, if you like. A re-examination of the classic form, perhaps, a self-aware comment on it, perhaps, but also a solid example of the form. I'm not taking myself too seriously (despite appearances), but I'm not taking the piss either.

"Not too much, anyway."

A Strong, Compelling Voice

Sandy Amazeen reviews Theodore Judson's The Martian General's Daughteron Monsters & Critics. She writes that "This is not a fast-paced action tale but a more cerebral sci-fi that follows the corruption that comes with absolute power and one man’s attempt to live through it on his own terms. Justa delivers the tale with a strong, compelling voice that belies her lowly status as she moves from an embarrassment to trusted advisor. Certainly this could be taken as a cautionary tale for, as it has been observed, 'Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.'"

Meanwhile, I see the book is already shipping from Amazon, I've gotten my copies (gorgeous!), and I expect it will be in stores soon. Get 'em while they're hot!

Update:
Booklist's Regina Schroeder says, "Judson’s handling of the fall of empire is most remarkable, given the slimness of the volume, and in Justa he forges a character compelling enough to keep readers from getting lost in the detail."

There's that word "compelling" again.

3/17/08

A Place of Demons and Wonders

John Joseph Adams interviews Kay Kenyon on Sci Fi Wire about her latest book, A World Too Near.Kay describes her lead, Titus Quinn, as a "former starship pilot, and, against his will, former prince of a demon city. [It's also] about Titus coming back to a place of demons and wonders--a pocket universe called the Entire--to redeem himself and save a lost daughter. The redemption involves a kind of labor of Hercules, the sort of mythic thing you can never really expect to pull off. He has to bring down a 100,000-year-old castle belonging to the masters of the universe."

Hey, I'd read that (if I hadn't already)!

3/12/08

Metatemporal Detective:

Robert M. Tilendis calls Michael Moorcock's The Metatemporal Detectivea "series of delightful burlesques of Conan Doyle, noir detective fiction, the American Western (with special mention for the Masked Buckaroo, who rapidly became one of my favorite characters), spy thrillers, and of Moorcock himself" in a piece for Green Man Review.

His conclusion: "These are light fare compared to the bulk of Moorcock's work, although the connections are certainly there for those who are concerned with such things. They are, however, for those who appreciate things like Flash Gordon, a lot of fun."

Lou TV

I was on Fox 6's "Good Day, Alabama" at 7:45 am this morning, along with fellow Alabamian and new SF author William H. Drinkard, in support of OmegaCon. We talked with host Rick Journey about Bill's book, OmegaCon, and Pyr. The clip is already online here.

The Blade Itself Carving Up a Reputation

Congratulation to Joe Abercrombie, whose novel The Blade Itself,is one of five finalists for the Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award for the best first novel in the sf/fantasy field for the year 2007. The award has been given for each year since 1982 by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc., and consists of a plaque and a $750 check.

3/11/08

Mercenary: Fast Paced and Entertaining

Rob H. Bedford posts his review of Mike Resnicks's Starship: Mercenaryover on SFFWorld. He writes: "Mercenary follows quickly on the heels of the previous novel (Starship: Pirate),with the same interesting mix of alien characters, not the least of which are the eccentric and humorous David Copperfield and the Space Pirate Queen Val. While the novel is fast paced and entertaining, Copperfield’s character adds a great deal of humor and comedic relief to the story and grows into more than strictly comic relief by the novel’s end.... So the bottom line is this: if you’ve enjoyed the first two Starship novels, there is no reason not to continue on with the story."

3/10/08

A World Too Near - Fascinatingly Complex

Paul Di Filippo reviews Kay Kenyon's A World Too Near: Book Two of The Entire and The Rosefor SciFi.com's Sci Fi Weekly. He found the book suffered from "middle volume syndrome", so affixed a minus to it's A grade, but he points out that it does a few things "brilliantly right." As he says: "First off, all the characters continue to be fascinatingly complex...... Also, every minor character is endowed with exceptional depth and reality. Secondly, the artificial universe known as the Entire remains a great conception and playground for adventure."

His conclusion? "But I'll certainly be back for the next installment, hoping for more aspects of the Entire to emerge."

3/4/08

A Load of Catching Up to Do

Here's a whole handful of things worth passing on.

Michael Moorcock is interviewed on ActuSF. He talks about the genesis of the Sir Seaton Begg character from The Metatemporal Detective,as well as the challenge of envisioning Hitler as a character: "I’m interested in political understanding, not what is correct. In fact you HAVE to look at these things if you are doing your job as a writer. You have to ask the unasked questions!"

Kay Kenyon's A World Too Near,just out this month, gets a marvelous review courtesy of Jackie Cassada in the Library Journal: "Kenyon's sequel to Bright of the Skydelves deeper into the personalities of her characters. This volume by a strong storyteller with a fresh new approach to fantasy and sf belongs in most libraries."

Meanwhile, Kay's previous novel, Bright of the Sky, was chosen as a staff selection for the Book Group Buzz: A Booklist Blog which makes recommendations (and offers sample discussion questions) for book club. They say, "
Kenyon has done a masterful job of world building. Her setting is worth reading about. Her characters are believable. Her plot is intriguing. The tone is somber and mean, and there is little that happens in this first book that is redemptive. Conflict is constant and some of the violence is hard to look at. Did I understand all the science? No. Was that important to me? No. This novel is so accomplished that a reader little interested in the mechanics of the world can still enjoy the universe Kenyon has created.
Would I read the next book in the series? You bet!"

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review takes a look at the first of Joel Shepherd's Cassandra Kresnov novels, Crossover,His conclusion: "I think the hype has been totally justified...I loved Crossover and haven’t had as much fun with a sci-fi book in a long time."

Finally, Of Science Fiction takes a look at Justina Robson's Selling Out.TexasBlueBoy apparently hates series, but he likes this one despite himself: "Ms. Robson's blending of pretty hard sci fi with classic fantasy elements is flawless. Her characters are all flawed in very human ways and therefore approachable if not downright likable. I really hate to admit it, but Pyr has brought out yet another great speculative work that deserves to be read."

No shame in admitting that, now, surely!

3/3/08

Abercrombie on Abercrombie

A wealth of Joe Abercrombie over on SFCrowsnest. First, they reprint his blog entry on the influence of George RR Martin on his work (The Blade Itself,Before They Are Hanged,and the forthcoming Last Argument of Kings), then Joe is interviewed by Aidan Moher in "The Joe Himself: Joe Abercrombie Interviewed." On his early influences:

As a kid I was very into the Lord of the Rings, and read it every year for a while. Wizard of Earthsea also had a strong effect on me. So did Michael Moorcock (particularly Corum and all the crazy names). I watched Conan the Barbarian many times more than is healthy for a teenage boy (there's boobs in it, and I'm not just talking about Schwarzenegger's). I started playing an awful lot of roleplaying games around this time, and with supplements from that, early fantasy-styled computer games such as Dungeon Master, Bloodwych, and Legend, cracking through a load of Dragonlance, and David Eddings first two series (or are they the same series with different covers?) I probably glutted myself on the cheesier end of the fantasy spectrum. Nothing wrong with cheese, you understand, as long as you get some fibre in your diet at the same time.

Some Strange Place in the Universe

Love this review! Margaret Cannon is reviewing crime fiction for The Globe and Mail. She says she remembers "the utter delight of mysteries set in a perfectly realized alternative universe," but apart from a story by Robert J. Sawyer, hasn't found anything else to scratch this itch. Until now, that is, and Michael Moorcock's The Metatemporal Detective,which is a "wonderful collection...Seaton Begg and pathologist Taffy Sinclair, of the Metatemporal Investigation Department of the British Home Office, are pure imagination at its finest."

I knew this book would appeal to mystery aficionados, and it's great to see how well it worked for Margaret, who I gather has never heard of Elric, whom she calls "the beastly aristo Zenith the Albino, from some strange place in the galaxy," but who catches all the homages "to everyone from Dashiell Hammett to the nearly forgotten Sexton Blake."

Her conclusion? "For pure fun, this alternative universe is the place to explore."