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INTERVIEWS

Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded

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My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

ART | A Most Amazing Clockwork Woman by Ian Daniels


This absolutely staggeringly gorgeous piece from Dr. Bob Curran's Man-Made Monsters is by Ian Daniels. I made an immediate connection to Ekaterina Sedia's The Alchemy of Stone, which if you're read the star character Mattie will immediately come to mind. Ian Daniels is one of my favorite illustrators and his work with Dr. Bob Curran and all of his supernatural creature books combining mythology and pop culture have been must haves for me for many years.  Together they have collaborated on Vampires, Werewolves, Dark FairiesZombies, Walking With the Green Man, and my personal favorite Lost Lands, Forgotten Realms.  Most of Daniel's work is B & W, but when he gets to do a color piece he really shines in his own gothic sort of way.  Their latest project together is Man-Made Monsters which delves into the mythology surrounding Frankenstein, Golems, and yes even Automatons. A sample chapter on Automatons is now up on his publisher's blog. Publisher's out there give Daniels some more cover work. He could definitely give you a different take on Urban Fantasy covers.


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Steampunk is...(13 Authors & Editors Answer)

As If This Month Wasn't Great Already, Now This!


As Steampunk Month draws to a close I don't think it could end on a higher note than this. Take a gander at the full cover spread for Tim Akers' The Horns of Ruin. If you can't read the back cover click in to embiggen and read the 4th quote.  That's is right a quote of mine made it to a back cover. This is pretty much the height any book blogger can attain outside of writing a book themselves that gets published. This is the second time I've had a quote on a book with Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes being the first. The quote was actually from my review of Akers' debut Heart of Veridon, but it applies just as much if not a tad more in this case.

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CHARACTER INTERVIEW | Eva Forge from The Horns of Ruin by Time Akers
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REVIEW | The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers
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Tor Steampunk Prize Pack Winner


The winner of the geartastic pack of books from Tor is:

Michelle LaRock from Oregon

Michelle is in store quite a good crop of books. I finished The Half-Made World just a few days ago and I was quite taken a back by what Gilman did, but I digress as my full review is still to come.  Do check out Gilman's piece on Old West Steampunk.  He makes a very strong case for Westerns being just as much of an impetuous as Victorian Literature.

The Old West Brings the Steam by Felix Gilman


The Old West Brings the Steam

by Felix Gilman

A couple of months ago I was on a panel at BEA, talking about steampunk with Cherie Priest and Cat Valente, to an audience of what I think were mostly publishers and booksellers and miscellaneous book-business riff-raff (e.g. writers). The official theme was something like “what is steampunk?” but of course the real theme was: “is there money in it?”

Anyway we got talking about American steampunk versus British steampunk, and I was surprised to learn that a lot of people think of steampunk as fundamentally British -- Victorian London, fog, Big Ben, Jack-the-ripper, all that. Apparently some people question whether you can really have steampunk set in America. I didn't even know that was a thing, but apparently it is.

It's nonsense, of course. Some of the very first proto-steampunk works are westerns. I give you Edward Ellis's 1865 “The Huge Hunter, Or The Steam Man Of The Prairies,” which opens like this:
'HOWLY vargin! what is that?' exclaimed Mickey McSquizzle, with something like horrified amazement.

'By the Jumping Jehosiphat, naow if that don't, beat all natur'!'

'It's the divil, broke loose, wid full steam on!'

There was good cause for these exclamations upon the part of the Yankee and Irishman, as they stood on the margin of Wolf Ravine, and gazed off over the prairie. Several miles to the north, something like a gigantic man could be seen approaching, apparently at a rapid gait for a few seconds, when it slackened its speed, until it scarcely moved.

Occasionally it changed its course, so that it went nearly at right angles. At such times, its colossal proportions were brought out in full relief, looking like some Titan as it took its giant strides over the prairie.

The distance was too great to scrutinize the phenomenon closely; but they could see that a black volume of smoke issued either from its mouth or the top of its head, while it was drawing behind it a sort of carriage, in which a single man was seated, who appeared to control the movements of the extraordinary being in front of him.

No wonder that something like superstitious have filled the breasts of the two men who had ceased hunting for gold, for a few minutes, to view the singular apparition; for such a thing had scarcely been dreamed of at that day, by the most imaginative philosophers; much less had it ever entered the head of these two men on the western prairies.

'Begorrah, but it's the ould divil, hitched to his throttin 'waging, wid his ould wife howlding the reins!' exclaimed Mickey.
It's not the devil, of course. It's a ten-foot steam-powered robot. That is literally the most steampunk anything can be. Nor was this the only steam-powered robot patrolling the imaginary 19th century frontier. John Clute coined the term “Edisonades” for this sort of thing - the adventures of a lone scientific genius and his trusty robot - but what they also are is proto-steampunk.


The American-frontier proto-steampunk differs from the more commonly cited Euro-proto-steampunk of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne mainly in that (a) it's terrible - you can quite obviously tell that Ellis was being paid by the word -- and (b) it doesn't make the slightest effort to pretend that it has anything to do with actual science, the way Wells and Verne usually did, it just steams ahead with mad nonsensical enthusiasm, as if having pushed out past civilization and onto the wild frontier it can do whatever the hell it wants, and if what it wants is a steam-powered robot it's gonna have a steam-powered robot and there ain't no damn man from no gubmint can tell it steam-powered robots don't make no sense, dag nab it.

I digress. The point is that steampunk, at least in its more pulpy, fantastical or surrealist forms, owes as much to proto-steampunk writers like Ellis and his fellows as it does to anyone.

I say proto because steampunk is (it seems to me) inherently retro, inherently meta-. Steampunk is about recapturing old and obsolete notions of The Future (sometimes criticizing them, sometimes wallowing nostalgically in them, often a little of both). It borrows tropes from 19th-century authors of Edisonades or scientific romance or whatever you want to call it, but it's not the same thing. The 19th century guys were playing it straight, looking to a Future that was still potential for them. They wouldn't have got the joke.

Of course if what you're interested in is digging up and reanimating old-time notions of The Future, the western frontier is the place to be. There are dozens of utopian communities buried beneath it. The thing itself is the biggest and boldest metaphor for the Boundless Potential Of The Future one can imagine.

On the other hand, if what you're interested in is criticizing the ugly underside of Progress, the frontier also represents not only the betrayal of its own promise, but also one of the ugliest and grisliest crimes of human history. And that, I've always thought, is the animating principle behind the weird west sub-sub-subgenre, which has sort of sloped along beside steampunk for half a century or so, like an ugly mad cousin. Or at least that's what's animates what's interesting in it: that notion of American history as something deeply violent, weird, and haunted.

Whenever I say “weird west” someone mentions that godawful Will Smith movie. I don't want to talk about that awful movie. I won't. I just won't. No.

*******************

Felix Gilman has been nominated for the John W. Campbell Award and the Crawford Award for best new writer and the Locus Award for best first novel. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Thunderer and Gears of the City. His new novel the first half in a duology The Half-Made World is now out from Tor books.  He lives with his wife in New York City. You can follow him on his blog.

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REVIEW | The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers

CHARACTER INTERVIEW | Eva Forge from The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers


Tim Akers has been doing some very interesting things with his style of Steampunk called Noird, a fusion of Noir and the New Weird. After I started The Horns of Ruin I knew I wanted to do something a little different and was immediately drawn to the star of the book Eva Forge. This interview acts as a nice vignette of what is to come and takes place before the events The Horns of Ruin.

***********

MH: Eva, thanks for joining us today. I know your duties with the Scions of Morgan keep you quite busy.

EVA: Of course. I'm always thrilled to play the part of Public Relations goon for the Cult. It's precisely the sort of thing my years of training in sword and pistol have prepared me for. Sitting. And talking. Just thrilled to be here.

MH: Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do for the Morganites?

EVA: What I do? (leans back in her chair, sighs, runs a finger across her temples and then to the revolver at her hip) What I do. The Cult is the earthly embodiment of Morgan, Brother Immortal, Champion of the Fraterdom and God of War. Our temples are battlefields, our liturgies are the clash of blade and bullet. For centuries we have stood between civilization and chaos, carrying the standard of battle against any who would oppose the Godking.

As Paladin of the Cult of Morgan, it is my holy and sworn duty to lead the charge against the darkness, to bear my sword and sight my iron against the enemies of the Fraterdom. In their blood I find redemption. In their bones I sanctify my soul.

(folds hands neatly across her knee)

This is what I do. What warriors do.

MH: Ummm, I mean no disrespect. Your skills are well known, if not quite understood. The people of Ash need to be educated about Morgan what with The Betrayer's lot still lurking around. Speaking of the Cult of Amon. Given their pedigree do you think it is fair that they are all imprisoned? None of the current followers were even alive during Amon's time.

EVA: It's an interesting question. Many ways to ask that question. Let's try this: Three hundred years ago, Amon the Scholar murdered his brother in cold blood. His brother, who had dedicated his life to defending the citizens of humanity from the darkest threats this fractured world could conjure. Murdered him as he slept.

I'm not saying that they're murderers. They aren't the Betrayer. But they worship him, do you see? They are dedicated the what he was before the Betrayal, to the Scholar and the Engineer and the Scientist. But there's the seed of murder there, somewhere. They worship who he was, but that Brother, that God, he was becoming a murderer.

I don't understand it. I don't understand giving yourself over to a God who became something so awful. But that's their choice, and the Godking allows it. Encourages it. And if there are going to be Amonites, then yes. They must be kept locked away. They must be kept from us. It's unfortunate that it has to be that way. But it is their choice, not mine.

MH: Devotees of the Fraterdom are often given by their parents at a young age to the Cults. What was your childhood like growing up in the Strength of Morgan?

EVA: Hard. Barnabas was good to me, always, but he was always honest with me, too. He never made it easy. The ones who let up on the training because I was a girl, because I was a child and an orphan (or as good as an orphan) did me no favors. Barnabas expected a lot of me. And he got it.

MH: Barnaba is still a bit of enigma to me given he hardly leaves the Strength, but he has always been known as honorable. Eva, there are some that are saying the Cult of Morgan is dying with no chance of a resurgence. How would you answers these detractors? Are they right?

EVA: The way things are going? Yes. Absolutely. Precious Alexander coddles the Scholars, bleeds them for the latest gadget, drains his damned war machines out of their corrupt brains... and Morgan is forgotten. Morgan, who stood on the walls of Eliathas and fought back the hordes of Malcontent King, who led the charge at the battle of Veri-dunne. Morgan, the God of War. And war has been taken from him, and entrusted to the machines of a murderer. So, yes, I think the Cult is dying. Because the Fraterdom is dying. Alexander has stopped caring about honor, or respect, or an honest fight. All he cares about is what he can get out of the servant of Amon, and that the servants of Morgan pay the proper respect.

(she waves her hand, clearly frustrated)

This is a matter for the Elders. It is not my place, and if Barnabas were here I would be scrubbing pots for the rest of my life. I am only the Paladin. My place is the battlefield. Not the Council Chamber, or the marketplace, or the newspapers. Or, for that matter, the interview room.

Morgan keep you. (She stands and leaves, muttering about words, words, words...)

MH: But...but...but...Hrrrmmm... (drops face into hands) I knew this wouldn't go well. Damn Alexander and his insipid request. Oh! I hope nobody heard that.

***************
Read more Eva Forge in The Horns of Ruin, which will be available November 22nd from Pyr Books.  Learn more about Tim Akers at his blog or check out his other book Heart of Veridon, the first in the Jacob Burn cycle.

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CHARACTER INTERVIEW | Alexis from Gail Carriger's Soulless

REVIEW | The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers (Pyr)

Eva Forge is the last Paladin of the God of War Morgan. The problem is he is long dead from his brother's hands Amon. This leaves only the last brother immortal Alexander as the last living god in charge of the city of Ash and its surrounding areas. As Paladin Eva is entrusted with the security and protection of the Cult of Morgan and its followers. Not an easy thing for just one person, but with sword and magicked gun she soldiers on with loose lips and a hothead attitude. While on a mission to take the leader of her order somewhere and back some craziness with zombies of a sort goes down and she must track down one of her own.

The Horns of Ruin is very different tonally from Heart of Veridon so don't expect more of the same. It has an almost animalistic and visceral feel with loads of fights and colorful language that may be more at home in a Fantasy novel. Eva Forge is one tough lady who doesn't have much of a feminine side, but that is what you get when you train a person from childhood how to kill. I was immediately taken in by Eva's brusque disposition, which is best shown in her dialogue where she verbally combats people just as much as physically. Yet outside of Eva most characters aren't given much depth or detail that would connect you better with them.

The system of magic is based off of chanting and belief of past events, which was a nice way of mixing religion and magic given the nature of their gods. There is sometimes an over abundance of the chanting magic as Eva stretches herself to keep going. The Horns of Ruin often blends magic and science that comes off very blurred at times, which made my mind want to rebel not knowing which aspect was intended. Finally I just decided to go with it and not try to read too much into how something in particular was possible. The followers of Amon's abilities are particularly intriguing being that have a mastery over technology, but can also affect power through chanting including an impressive unmaking type spell. There are some Steampunk elements to be sure such as some jet packs and monorails, but this feels like a post Steampunk world with a healthy dash of magic and gods thrown in.

You'd be hard pressed to name a faster paced book. Akers barely gives you time to contemplate all the happenings as Eva bounces from one fight to the next. The relationships between the brother/gods are left very vague for quite a longtime, but as pieces are unfurled a new mystery takes shape. I particularly enjoyed the way Akers handles his gods and how their powers originate and the deep history that is alluded to.

If anything I'd call The Horns of Ruin Swords & Science. Fans of hack and slash Fantasy just may have found the steampunky read they've been looking for. The Horns of Ruin is an energetic rollercoaster ride in a well accentuated world that needs to be further explored. I give The Horns of Ruin 7.5 out 10 hats. The ending while satisfying does leave much left open. There has been no word yet on another Eva Forge book, but the second Jacob Burn book Dead of Veridon is schedule for June 2011 from Solaris.

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Steampunk is...

Art by James Ng
Steampunk is many things to many people. It is a literary style. A aesthetic movement. A way of life to some. It was with all this in mind I decided to ask more than a dozen people what they thought Steampunk is. I told them all a sentence would suffice as I wanted an off-the-cuff reaction, but many went much longer. The answers run the gamut from textbook to a bit silly, which seems about right.

***************

Steampunk...is.a subgenre of science fiction whose definition is not generally agreed upon, but which usually involves some combination of steam-powered technology and elements of fashion, history, society, and culture from varying parts of Victorian England.

Jess Nevins author of Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana

***************

Steampunk is ... fun with hats.

Or here's the longer official one: Steampunk is a style (of books, clothes, video games, movies, etc.) that draws its inspiration from the science fiction stories of the 19th century. Steampunk is often (but not strictly always) indicative of a place and/or time wherein steam is the dominant form of high technology. Or at least it usually looks like it is.

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker and Dreadnought

***************

Steampunk is...a mood (fog-laden streets lined with cobblestones); a theme (a world standing on the edge between one age and the next), a tech level (horses and automobiles, clockwork creations, goggles and steam engines, and air craft rising toward the stars), and more than a bit of madness.

Beth Bernobich author of Passion Play and Ars Memoriae

***************

Streampunk is....what happens when a post-colonial, high-technology generation appropriates classic colonialist, low-tech adventures, and I sez God bless 'em.

Daniel Abraham author of The Long Price Quartet

***************

Steampunk is...the love child of Hot Topic and a BBC costume drama

Gail Carriger, author of Soulless and Blameless

***************

Steampunk is...a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!

George Mann, author of The Affinity Bridge

***************

Steampunk is...a label for an aesthetic inspired by a certain historical time period (we all know which one), the artistic results of which is anything your heart desires along that theme."

Karin Lowachee, author of The Gaslight Dogs

***************

Steampunk is...that poor bastard shoveling coal in the belly of the gleaming leviathan

Vincent Pendergast author of “Otto’s Elephant” as seen in The Clockwork Jungle Book

***************

Steampunk is...a fantasy of painless progress.

Ekaterina Sedia, author of The Alchemy of Stone and The House of Discarded Dreams

***************

Steampunk is...not exactly a new phenomenon.

Elizabeth Bear, author of Blood and Iron

***************

Steampunk is...a Victorian-influenced speculative fiction subgenre set in a world where steam power is still in common use; and the aesthetic derived thereof.

Liz Gorinsky, Editor, Tor Books

***************

Steampunk is....fiction set predominantly in the 19th century or in a Victorian or quasi-Victorian seeming setting in which anachronistic technologies occur ahead of their real world invention. Although many people regard only Victorian era works as true steampunk, I would argue that in addition to a subgenre, steampunk is becoming a spice that can be blended with other subgenres as well. We are starting to see steampunk elements in fantasy, in works as diverse as China Mieville's Bas Lag novels, Philip Reeve's Larklight, and Adrian Tchaikovsky Shadows of the Apt series, as well as works that blend steampunk and urban fantasy, as Tim Akers does in Heart of Veridon and the forthcoming The Horns of Ruin. Jess Nevins definition, often miscredited to Cherie Priest, may say it best: "Steampunk is what happens when goths discover brown."

Lou Anders, Editorial Director, Pyr

***************

Steampunk is:

a. a genre of science fiction using the aesthetic trappings of the Victorian period.

b. a style/craft/fashion movement based on bringing form to the merely functional, with hints of a "do it yourself" manifesto.

c. a buzz word applied to anything anachronistic in design. "That brass lamp is so steampunk."

Jeremiah Tolbert, creator of Dr. Julius T. Roundbottom


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Steampunk as Alternate History by Clay and Susan Griffith


Steampunk as Alternate History

by Clay and Susan Griffith


Alternate history is fascinating, whether in fiction or just a parlor game – “What if Napoleon won Waterloo? What if Julius Caesar hadn’t been assassinated? What if the Spanish Armada had won?” Alternate history can be compelling because we all have a tendency to think about history in terms of what historians call determinism, which means we like to think everything HAS to happen the way it does happen. But it isn’t so; history has no rational plan. And alternate history let’s us think about what ELSE could’ve happened.

We’re guesting on this blog to talk about how we approach steampunk as a form of alternate history. And we should say up front that our comments are limited to steampunk fiction, rather than fashion or fabrication, because we’re writers, not designers or engineers. In addition, we don’t claim to be experts on all things steampunk, but we do write alternate history with a steampunk flavor, so we can speak to that.

Just how much writers change history in steampunk fiction depends on the story. Sometimes the imaginary steam world is wildly different from reality, and the author provides a detailed scheme that explains why seemingly outlandish things make sense such as Queen Victoria’s army of steam-powered robots or smoke-belching airships dominating the skies. Other times, steampunk fiction is plain old historical fiction with a dollop of top hats and goggles. Then there’s also steampunk that’s not set in an alternate earth timeline, but in a pure fantasy world while still using the tropes of the genre, such as technology or fashion or language; that isn’t really alternate history.

Our personal preference is for steampunk with its feet planted firmly in the 19th century, because that was the era when the dominant energy source was STEAM. It should come as no surprise then that we write neo-Victorian alternate history. In our book, real history shifts to our fictional timeline in 1870 with a devastating attack by vampires which destroys the industrial world of the northern hemisphere. Refugees from the north descend on the tropics, where vampires are rare, to create a chaos of conquest and consolidation.

We don’t pretend to produce hardcore alternate history that would necessarily please the most critical of the Military History Quarterly crowd (even though we think they’d like our book too), but as with any alternate history, our goal is to create a world that works within its own steampunk boundaries and has logical political and economical rules. Even our vampires have reasonable rules that don’t depend on occult inexplicability.

While the politics and economics in our world vary from the real world, we still believe they are (and should be) familiar to readers. That’s the point of alternate history, at least to us. If you create a world so twisted that it isn’t recognizable or comfortable to readers, then you might as well just move into a fantasy world.

We didn’t set out to write a “steampunk” novel. Our plan was to create an exciting adventure and love story, with vampires, set in a unique neo-Victorian world. We were certainly familiar with steampunk, but we weren’t part of the community, and really had no idea how large and complex it was until we began to realize our book fit nicely into the exploding subgenre. Even so, our steampunk isn’t necessarily your steampunk, but it doesn’t have to be.

Steampunk, like all genres, evolves and provides a constant source of debate over its definition and boundaries. Therefore, alternate history (which includes its little brother – steampunk) will continue to be both surprising and familiar, which is how it should be to maintain an audience.

------------------------------

Clay & Susan Griffith are the authors of The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire Book 1 (Pyr Books, Nov. 2010) They are a married couple who have written and published together for more than a decade. Their credits not only include several books and numerous short stories published in many anthologies, some featuring noted genre characters like Kolchak the Night Stalker and The Phantom. They've also written scripts for television and published graphic novels featuring characters such as The Tick and Allan Quatermain. You can visit them on their blog.

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REVIEW | The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

REVIEW | The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder (Pyr)

At this point in Steampunk Month I thought I would get tired of reading within the same genre with such similar tropes as I generally try to mix my genres a bit so nothing becomes too stale. To a degree this has been happening what with four reads in a row now, but The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack enlivened me again and reminded me of all that I love about Steampunk.

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack takes the more traditional definition of Steampunk with a Victorian setting, an altering of history, and the use of historical characters as stars and supporting cast. In fact, Hodder makes use of historical characters more than any other Steampunk novel I've read using everyone from famous explorers of the Victorian era to its Scientific geniuses and even poets of only low note and a spate of references to people, places, and events of the time. There is also an index which covers the true historical happenings of many of the people mentioned, which was a nice touch.

At its core The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is a time travel mind bender mashed up with a pulp. The beginning was a bit all over the place, but it quickly turned into a very entertaining romp with adventurer extraordinaire Sir Richard Francis Burton and de Sade follower and poet Algernon Swinburne. Like Westerfeld Hodder chooses to innovate with not only technological wonders, but also genetic using Darwin as a keystone. Everything from giant swans, coal-driven horses, odd chimney sweeps, and broomcats come into the fold in this well realized alternative England. And not since Dicken's have chimney sweeps been so well used. The Spring Heeled Jack mythos is used to great effect as Hodder unveils this mysterious hopping bogey monster. There are many groups all vying for power. Nearly too many with political, technological, and anti-tech groups all jumping into the fray as well as their offshoots.

Despite some quibbles with the first quarter of the story Hodder brings it all home and clearly shows how much fun he had writing this tale. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack pays homage to many of the forebears to Steampunk with a healthy nod to Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates. Hodder brings plenty of his own style to the table in terms of intricate plotting. There are some very complex happenings that he goes to great lengths to explain. In fact in the big reveal section it goes a little too far for me. After the first couple of examples we get the point, but that is probably a better way to go than leaving too much open. Burton comes off too distant, too perfect, and needed some sort of major flaw to make you feel he was in true danger. And the women of the story might as well not have been there given how marginalized they became. It is Algeron Swinburne that truly takes the show away when he eventually comes in to the fold. He turns out to be quite an odd and kinky fellow.

This was definitely one of those books where I connected more with the world than the characters who felt a bit distant although quite amusing and witty. Still Sir Richard Francis Burton comes out of the history books to become more than he ever was and historical figures become some very odd villains, but it was the Spring Heeled Jack storyline that will keep you vested. If you like time travel and alternative history this would definitely be worth your attention and if you are just a plain-old fan of Steampunk this is another must to add to the to-read pile. There are many good twists and some very weird ones that will give you pause. I give The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack 8 out of 10 hats. The cover is one of my favorites this year and if you haven't seen it in person go to a bookstore and check it out.  It just may seal the deal with all the finishing details. This is a planned series with the sequel The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man scheduled from a release in March 2011 from Pyr. I'll definitely be back for more and hope Hodder can improve some of the pacing issues.

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REVIEW | The Bookman by Lavie Tidhar
REVIEW | Anti-Ice by Stephen Baxter
REVIEW | Boneshaker by Cherie Priest
REVIEW | Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
REVIEW | The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers

VIDEO | Atomic Robo: Last Stop


Ever since my brother in-law introduced me to Atomic Robo earlier this year it has quickly become one of my favorite Graphic Novels. A simple description would be Hellboy starring a sentient robot with jokes. But in a lot of ways Atomic Robo is still vastly different from Hellboy. Atomic Robo isn't as dark or moody.  It is made to just have fun with mad science, flipping through time, and yes Lovecraftian monsters. Lovecraft even makes a very important guest appearance as do other historical figures. The Fictory is attempting to make a short animated film based off Atomic Robo currently called Atomic Robo: Last Stop. Judging by the sample they are staying true to the vision created by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener. Robo doesn't appear until near the end of this sample, but it certainly whets my appetite for the full length version.




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Steampunk Comics: A Reading List
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Steampunk Comics: A Reading List

Steampunk Comics: A Reading List
by Chriss Cornish,
of the more Vikings book blog

Does your comic book reading need a hefty does of retro-futurism? Could your graphic novel collection use a dash of far future etherpunk western? Are your webcomic choices woefully bereft of Victorian scientists toting ray guns and having adventures?

Boy-howdy are you in luck, then!

There's quite a bit of steampunk fiction available in the good 'ol sequential media these days (as I found when last I assembled a steampunk reading list); from webcomics full of moody engineers in goggles to steampunk manga westerns set on alien planets.

Steampunk Comics Recommended Reading List

Here find a list of 20 highly recommended comics of various and sundry sort all disporting in that delightful retro-furturist speculative fiction genre we like to call...STEAMPUNK.

presented for your amusement & edification by moreVikings

The Amazing Screw-On Head by Mike Mignola


When Mike Mignola tires (however briefly) of a steady diet of Hellboy, he turns to diversions such as creating The Amazing Screw-On Head.
When Emperor Zombie threatens the safety of all life on Earth, President Abraham Lincoln enlists the aid of a mechanical head. With Screw-On Head and Mr. Groin on the job, you just know there will be flying machines to be piloted, tombs to be robbed, and weird alien menaces to be thwarted -- all that and talking dogs, too! It's pure mayhem -- and pure Mignola!
Amazing Screw-on Head was briefly an animated TV show and is now available on DVD.
Author(s): Mike MignolaPublisher(s): Dark Horse
Copyright: 2002

The Adventures of Luther Arkwright by Bryan Talbot


Across a multitude of parallel universes, dark forces operate in the shadows, manipulating mankind's histories throughout countless timelines. The agents of these Disruptors all work with a single purpose - the recovery and activation of Firefrost, a long-hidden doomsday device whose unspeakable power is capable of consuming the galaxy in all its incarnations.
Standing in the way of the Disruptors is Luther Arkwright, a human anomaly who exists only in a single universe, a man of vast psychic powers and capable of traveling between the parallel realities to counter the Disruptor's influence.
Ever wanted to see the Bayeux Tapestry destroyed by ray guns? Are you in luck, than!
This dark science fiction, published in 1982, is a forerunner of what we call steampunk today. I first discovered this great British comic through an audio book Big Finish made of it in the '90s.
Author(s): Bryan TalbotPublisher(s): Dark Horse
ISBN#: 9781593077259Copyright: 2007, 1997, 1982

Calamity Jack by Shannon & Dean Hale w/Nathan Hale (illustrator)


This YA graphic novel is a steampunk western re-telling of Jack and the Beanstalk, with assistance from heroine Rapunzel who uses her hair as a lasso and whip.
One day, Jack chooses a target a little more ...'giant' than the usual, and as one little bean turns into a great big building-destroying beanstalk, his troubles really begin. But with help from Rapunzel and other eccentric friends, Jack just might out-swindle the evil giants and put his beloved city back in the hands of the people who live there ...
Author(s): Shannon & Dean Hale with Nathan Hale (illustrator)Publisher(s): Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN#: 9781599900766Copyright: 2010

Captain Swing & the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island by Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres (illustrator)



This comic book is set in London, 1830, where newly-minted copper Charlie Gravel keeps seeing things he's not supposed to. A crooked Bow Street Runner with a flintlock revolver, flying things that are not supposed to fly, and the violent Scientific Phantasmagoria that is christened Spring-Heeled Jack, but is known by other names.
It is the time of Captain Swing and his Electrical Pirates, and history will never be the same.
NOTE: Warren Ellis doesn't call this comic steampunk, I DO (as do others). So, while Mr. Ellis may not be writing Victorian fantasy, Captain Swing IS solid retro-futurism (if you're puzzling over the distinction, see my steampunk intro.)
  • Review at Jimmy in the Garden
  • Author(s): Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres (illustrator)Publisher(s): Avatar
    Copyright: 2008

    Daisy Kutter: The Last Train by Kazu Kibuishi

    Daisy Kutter's bandit days are behind her. She and partner Tom have gone legit, and now she is a respectable small-town citizen, owner of the local general store--and bored out of her mind. Frustration with the tedium of normal life and her own discontents gets her into trouble after she loses the store in a poker game. Mr. Winters, the security mogul who won it, offers a proposition she can't refuse: to test the new security robots on his train. He is willing to pay.
    This trade paperback collects all four issues of the steampunky sci-fi western comic book Daisy Kutter
    Author(s): Kazu KibuishiPublisher(s): Viper Comics
    ISBN#: 9780975419328Copyright: 2005

    Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory by Greg Broadmore

    By jingo, by crikey, and by all that's good in this world, he's done it! Dr. Grordbort has released his directory of scientific splendor. A catalogue of wondrous contraptions and wave weapons of unprecedented power, this book makes available a myriad of destructive and beneficial devices to any intergalactic explorer: Rayguns, Metal Men, Ironclads, and Rocketships are all presented. Also included is a sequential pictographic essay (also known as a "comic") on the exploits of world-famous naturalist and adventurer Lord Cockswain. See him uncover the natural mysteries of Venus with several big guns!
    Satirical steampunk graphic novel done up like a Victorian contraption catalog. The book is inspired by a WETA Limited brochure put out in 2007 that presented their ray gun 'statues' as the catalog of Doctor Grordbort.
    Author(s): Greg BroadmorePublisher(s): Dark Horse
    ISBN#: 9781593078768Copyright: 2008

    The Five Fists Of Science by Matt Fraction & Steven Sanders (illustrator)

    True story: in 1899, Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla decided to end war forever. With Twain's connections and Tesla's inventions, they went into business selling world peace. So, what happened? Only now can the tale be told - in which Twain and Tesla collided with Edison and Morgan, an evil science cabal merging the Black Arts and the Industrial Age. Turn of the century New York City sets the stage for a titanic battle over the very fate of mankind.
    A generally highly reviewed steampunk graphic novel, however, some people, including myself, have a difficult time with the artwork.
    Author(s): Matt Fraction & Steven Sanders (illustrator)Publisher(s): Image Comics
    ISBN#: 9781582406053Copyright: 2006

    Girl Genius by Phil & Kaja Foglio

    In a time when the Industrial Revolution has become an all-out war, Mad Science rules the World... with mixed success. At Transylvania Polygnostic University, Agatha Clay is a student with trouble concentrating and rotten luck. Dedicated to her studies but unable to build anything that actually works, she seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But when the University is overthrown, a strange "clank" stalks the streets and it begins to look like Agatha might carry a spark of Mad Science after all.
    Collections of this steampunk webcomic are sold in volumes at many comic shops and bookstores.
    Webcomic URL: Girl Genius
    Author(s): Phil & Kaja FoglioPublisher(s): Studio Foglio
    ISBN#: 9781890856199Copyright: 2002

    Grandville: A Detective LeBrock Scientific Romance Thriller by Bryan Talbot

    Two hundred years ago, Britain lost the Napoleonic War and fell under the thumb of French domination. Gaining independence after decades, the Socialist Republic of Britain is now a small, unimportant backwater connected by steam-powered dirigible and mutual suspicion of France. When a British diplomat is murdered to look like suicide, ferocious Detective-Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard stalks a ruthless murder squad through the heart of a Belle Epoque Paris, the center of the greatest empire in a world of steam-driven hansom cabs, automatons, and flying machines.
    Anthropomorphic steampunk police noir from the creator of The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and One Bad Rat.

    • Author(s): Bryan Talbot
    • ISBN#: 9781595823977

    Iron West by Doug TenNapel

    Preston Struck is an incompetent outlaw with a heart of fool's gold. He discovers an army of metal men bent on destroying central California. While Struck avoids any form of heroism, he gets a little help from a magical old shaman and his sidekick Sasquatch. Struck is going to need all the help he can get because he's deputized just as the mechanical men have taken over the railroad and are mutating the train into a giant demonic iron monster.
    This graphic novel is a steampunk western from Image Comics.
    Author(s): Doug TenNapelPublisher(s): Image Comics
    ISBN#: 9780575600294Copyright: 1990, 1996

    Lady Mechanika by Joe Benitez

    The tabloids dubbed her "Lady Mechanika", the sole survivor of a psychotic serial killer's three-year rampage through London. Authorities found her locked in an abandoned laboratory amidst an undeterminable number of corpses and body parts, her own limbs having been amputated and replaced with mechanical components. With no memory of her captivity or her former life, Mechanika eventually built a new life for herself as a private detective, using her unique abilities to solve cases the police couldn't or wouldn't handle. But she never stopped searching for the answers to her own past. Set in turn of the century England, a time when magic and superstition clashed with new scientific discoveries and inventions.
    This steampunk comic book comes out November 2010 (and I've been on tenterhooks since Comic-Con)
    Author(s): Joe BenitezPublisher(s): Aspen Comics
    Copyright: November 2010

    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore & O'Neill (illustrator)

    In this amazingly imaginative tale, literary figures from throughout time and various bodies of work are brought together to face any and all threats to Britain; Allan Quartermain, Mina Murray, Captain Nemo, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde and Hawley Griffin, the Invisible Man, form a remarkable legion of intellectual aptitude and physical prowess.
    WARNING: The actual comics are more graphic than the family friendly movie based on this series. For instance, the Invisible Man is anally raped in volume 2. When we call this a graphic novel, we're NOT just talking about a story told in pictures. Just a heads up. This adventure mashup comic stars some of the most famous characters from Victorian literature and is one of the most commonly mentioned steampunk graphic novels after Girl Genius. It also features a lot of little literary easter eggs for the readers.
    Author(s): Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill (illustrator)Publisher(s): Wildstorm / DC comics
    ISBN#: 9781563898587Copyright: 2002

    Lovelace & Babbage by Sydney Padua

    Adda Lovelace: mathematician extraordinaire and only legitimate child of poet Lord Byron. Charles Babbage: inventor of the difference engine and hater of street music. Together they build the first computer in the mid 1830s, giving humanity the technology to repel the alien invasion of 1898. They use their combined powers to fight crime and have adventures in this exciting webcomic.
    This fun and witty steampunk webcomic stars real historical figures Adda Byron (a.k.a Lady Lovelace) and Charles Babbage, inventors and programmers of the first mechanical computer. In this much more exciting world the alien invasion of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds novel actually did happen and it led to the difference engine actually being built.
    Author(s): Sydney PaduaWebcomic URL: 2D-Goggles: The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

    Monster Commute by Daniel Davis

    A free steampunk webcomic about the endless daily commute of a robot and a beast, stuck on a monster highway in a world ruled by The Authority; Lincolnstein (Abraham Lincoln's living head preserved in a etherpunky contraption) and his gestapo of giant steam-powered crowbot minions.
    Collections of this steampunk webcomic are available in books from the Steam Crow store
    Author(s): Daniel DavisWebcomic URL: Steam Crow Monster Commute

    Robotika by Alex Sheikman

    Niko, the Steampunk Samurai, is in her Majesty's service. But is he a faithful royal bodyguard, or a for-hire yojimbo? A perfect warrior, or a soulless weapon? Follow Niko on his journey of self-discovery with Uri Bronski and Cherokee Geisha, as the Three Yojimbo discover a world populated by silent samurai, fast talking geisha, deadly mechabetsushikime, digital djihits and morphing butterflies.
    I LOVE this far future etherpunk western. This trade paperback (TPB) volume is the first of, so far, two books collecting the retro-futurist comic book Robotika
    Author(s): Alex SheikmanPublisher(s): Archaia
    ISBN#: 1932386211Copyright: 2006

    Scarlet Traces by Ian Edginton & D'Israeli (illustrator)

    A decade after the Martians' abortive assault on Earth & their attempt to establish a bridgehead in Britain, the Victorians have assimilated the Martian technologies into everyday life. Hansom cabs now scuttle along on multi-limbed crab legs & the Martian heat-ray has assured the dominance of the British Empire over two thirds of the Earth's surface. However, there is something rotten at the heart of empire. When the bodies of several young women are found washed up on the Thames, drained of blood, enter Captain Robert Autumn (retired soldier turned gentleman-adventurer) and his former Sergeant Major-now manservant Archie Currie. Together they're drawn into the mystery, which leads them to Whitehall's corridor's of power and the very Hall of the Martian King!
    This steampunk comic is a murder mystery sequel to H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. TPB is one of two volumes collecting the comic book Scarlet Traces into graphic novel form.
    Author(s): Ian Edginton & D'Israeli (illustrator)Publisher(s): Dark Horse
    ISBN#: 9781569719404Copyright: 2003

    "Stars" by Donna Pesani

    This charming tale follows a little girl who lives in the sky in a city full of steampunker 'angels'. Her parents have a very important job; every night they hang the stars in the sky. Tonight, after years of asking and waiting, our little heroine is finally big enough to go to work with her parents. Very sweet and cute.
    This steampunk comic is a short story and appears in the first volume of UK mangaka comics anthology Leek & Sushi's Manga Show. The other European manga in this book feature a range of stories, however this is the only one that is steampunk in theme.
    Author(s): Donna PesaniPublisher(s): Itch Publishing
    Copyright: 2008?

    Steampunk by Joe Kelly, Chris Bachalo (Illustrator), & Richard Friend (Illustrator)

    Comatose for over a century, Cole Blaquesmith is awakened in a time he does not recognize, with a bizarre mechanical apparatus for an arm that he does not remember, in a world he does not know. Suddenly living in a high-tech Victorian-age London, Cole is thrust into the role of hero as he leads the London Underdwellers in a revolt against the evil despot, Lord Absinthe.
    Yes, this steampunk comic book has the least imaginative title possible. The story is non-linear, ends on a cliffhanger, and has great artwork. The full run is collected in one volume; Steampunk: Manimatron
Author(s): Joe Kelly, Chris Bachalo (Illustrator), & Richard Friend (Illustrator)Publisher(s): Cliffhanger
ISBN#: 9781563897627Copyright: 2001

Time Lincoln by Fred Perry

In his last hour, he lived a lifetime!
What happens when the Great Emancipator is suddenly freed from the bonds of time to right wrongs throughout history? On the night of his assassination, Abraham Lincoln's life is threatened not by an angry actor, but by Void Stalin, the man who is literally the greatest villain of all time!
Somehow, Lincoln is destined to wage war upon Void Stalin's forces of evil in the past, present and future, and the time-traveling tyrant is determined to make sure that never comes to pass!
This etherpunk comic book stars everyone's favorite stove-pipe hat wearing United States President.
Author(s): Fred PerryPublisher(s): Antarctic Press (AP Entertainment)
Copyright: 2010

Trigun by Yasuhiro Nightow

Vash the Stampede is the most infamous outlaw on the planet Gunsmoke and with a 60 billion double dollar price on his head the gun slinging pacifist can't seem to get away from money grabbing, itchy-trigger-finger citizenry.
And then there are the two insurance ladies dogging his steps to make sure he doesn't cause their company any further financial hardship.
Find out why Vash is worth so much dead!
A great weird-west steampunk manga (graphic novel from Japan). It has that perfect blend of silly and serious that the Japanese do so well.
There's also a great anime based on this series.
Author(s): Yasuhiro NightowPublisher(s): Dark Horse
ISBN#: 9781593070526Copyright: 2003 (that's for DH's English translation)

Virtuoso by Jon Munger & Krista Brennan (illustrator)

Alternate history webcomic about an Africa that never existed, one run by steel and springs, commanded by vast matriarchies and past the height of its culture.
Virtuoso is the story of Jnembi Osse, a professional weapons manufacturer for the most powerful empire in the world, and how her private rebellion becomes a full scale international incident.
I love that this steampunk webcomic is based in a non-European culture setting.
Author(s): Jon Munger & Krista Brennan (illustrator)URL: Virtuoso

Conclusion

When the subject of good steampunk reads comes up comics rarely, if ever, get mentioned at all. So sad. *sniff*

There are many more titles out there in the world of steampunk comic books, graphic novels, manga, and webcomics; this brief list just highlighted a few that I've winnowed out as the best that 2010 has to offer.

I hope you now feel inclined to run out and add one of these books and webcomics to your to-read or buy lists.

Even more than that, though, I encourage you to start bringing up these great titles when next the subject of good steampunk books comes up.


This public service annoucement has been brought to you by moreVikings.com, courtesy of Mad Hatter. We now return you to your regularly scheduled reading.



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Steampunk: The Spirit of Time by Mark Hodder
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Girl Genius novel is on the way from Phil & Kaja Foglio
Cover Unveiled for Camera Obscura by Lavie Tidhar

Covers Unveiled for Simon Morden's New Series

Simon Morden may be little known to most of you despite being short listed for a World Fantasy Award for his novella Another War and finalist for the Catalyst Award for his YA effort The Lost Art. He is also a rocket scientist so the science part comes easy for him.  Early next year he will debuting his new series of Dystopian Thrillers starring Samuil Petrovitch through Orbit Books. This is another case of Orbit given fans instant satisfaction with publishing a trilogy of books over 3 months with the first Equations of Life coming out in April with Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom following in May and June. Now the look for the series is quite something to behold as Orbit has stepped out of the box on the design for something that will truly mess with your visual senses.

Here is a bit from Orbit's Anna Gregson on the series and its design:

To give you a bit of background on the cover concept – we have taken advantage of some classic optical illusions, choosing images that speak to the role of Samuel Petrovitch as a physicist and mathematician. In the Equations of Life cover, the white and black centre seems to start breaking into other colours. The Theories of Flight cover plays with dimensionality and also plays off a model of space–time as Einstein theorized it. The Degrees of Freedom cover starts to break the maze-like design into cells and levels which, I think, really portrays the feeling of entrapment.

These online cover images truly don’t do the packages justice – each book has a single bright colour and in the printed version that will actually be a fluorescent ink. Spot gloss lamination and subtle embossing will heighten the effect of the illusions and make them very nice objects to pick up and stare at – they really draw you in when you see them in person.
I'm quite keen to see how these will look in finished form and plan on adding each to my shelf just to see them peeking out. I'm happy to see Orbit continue to take a daring approach on genre books. Below are larger versions along with descriptive copy for the first book Equations of Life. I found versions of the other two as well, but they seem a bit spoilery.


Samuil Petrovitch is a Russian emigre with a smart mouth, a dodgy heart and a dodgier past. He's brilliant, friendless, cocky and - even in a world where the No. 1 rule is 'don't get involved' - stands out as a selfish, miserable bastard. When an uncharacteristic act of kindness lands him in the middle of a private war between rival crime lords, Petrovitch has to make some high-risk choices. Crooked cops, gun-toting warrior nuns, exiled yakuza and crazed prophets are the least of his problems: there's something stirring in the dark corners of the Metrozone - and by the time the authorities work out what, it will be far too late. Armed only with a genius-level intellect, a natural distrust of other human beings and a prodigious vocabulary of Russian swear words, Samuil Petrovitch might just be most unlikely champion a city has ever had.



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Tor Steampunk Prize Pack Contest


And the Steampunk goodness continues.  From Tor Books I have one Steam Themed Prize pack.  It contains The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman, Dreadnought by Cherie Priest, and The Osiris Ritual by George Mann. I already lauded Dreadnought pretty highly earlier this month and I'm a third through The Half-Made World, which isn't so much Steampunk as a cross of Weird West and Dieselpunk. On the originality scale Gilman is scoring very high marks.

To enter send an email to madhatterreview (AT) gmail (dot) com with "TOR STEAM" in the subject line and your full name and snail mail address as a message. The deadline is midnight October 29th. I'll announce the winner on the following day or as soon as I remember. This contest is open only to people in the United States. If you send multiple entries you will be disqualified from the contest.

If you haven't read some of the guest essays for this month get to it.  Paul Jessup's piece on The Future of Steampunk is well worth taking the time for as is Mark Hodder's essay on the appeal of Steampunk.

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Annoucing Steampunk Month
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Winners of Pyr Steampunk Packs


This was by far the most popular contest I've hosted to date. People clearly love Steampunk. The winners of the awesome Pyr Steam themed prize packs picked by random number generator are:

Leah Scharl from Michigan
Andrea Infinger from Georgia

The prizes won't go out from Pyr until The Buntline Special is available, but that will give the winners plenty of year end reading. Look for another contest in the next post.

New Procurements

What with Steampunk Month going strong and my trip to NYCC I've been behind with cataloging my latest acquisitions. By the way if you haven't been paying attention to Steampunk Month please do. There have been a lot of very good guest essays going on.  This month also marks me falling off my book buying hiatus pledge.  It was a good run while it lasted.  I'm still not going to go back to my old habits just yet, but the pledge was broken and here we are.  First up is from a very large package I received from Angry Robot for their official US launch.


I believe this is every AR title for their first 2 months of releases in the US with the exceptions of Moxyland and The Bookman, which I read upon their UK releases.  The pile on the left are the books I'd like to get to first, especially Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner and Sixty One Nails by Mike Shevdon.  After all the Steampunk some Urban Fantasy will probably be in order.  The pile on the right has soon good looking books as well. Slights comes particularly highly praised.  The next batch is a mix of purchased and review copies.


Hawkwood and the Kings by Paul Kearney - This is the first of The Monarchies of God omnibuses from Solaris. After the Wertster talked up the series I had to take note and grabbed a copy on my last trip to the bookstore.

Stories of Your Life: and Others by Ted Chiang - This was on my must buy this year what with everyone and their mother say how Chiang is a living master.  I was planning on buying the Small Beer re-release, but spotted this HC first edition on the shelf and couldn't pass it up despite liking the SB cover better.

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld - This is the book that broken my pledge as it was sitting next to a Terry Pratchett book I was buying for a friend's birthday. Despite finding Leviathan a bit shallow I'm still eager to see more of Westerfeld's world and damn but if those illustrations don't make it worth buying alone I don't know what will.

The Soul Mirror by Carol Berg - This is the second book in the Collegia Magica sent by the publisher.

Autumn by David Moody - Moody has been garnering quite a bit of praise the last two years.  Autumn is the book he originally gave away for free on his website before landing a publishing deal for Hater and Dog Blood.  I'll definitely be taking a closer look at this one.

A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living Dead, Autumn chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by "phase two" of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities... sight, hearing, locomotion... As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence. Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal - to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world: those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1...

Without ever using the 'Z' word, Autumn offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There's no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore's sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of George Romero's classic living dead films with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days (and Weeks) later, this horrifying and suspenseful novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear.


Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi - This is the much sought after short story collection from the recent National Book Award finalist and winner of the both the Hugo and Nebula awards.  This collection was originally released in hardcover and quickly became a collectors item still selling for over a $100. Everything seems to be coming up Bacigalupi. I've read a few of the stories in this volume before, but I definitely want to read the rest.

Star's End by Glen Cook - The last in the Norse inspired Sci-Fi Starfishers Trilogy sent by the publisher. It is the Norse part that makes me most curious, but I'm not sure about diving into book 3.

At the Queen's Command by Michael A. Stackpole - The first in a new series called The Crown Colonies, which I'm quite happy was sent to me. I usually love Alternative History novels that mix in Fantasy elements. With this we get Dragons in the Revolutionary War.


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