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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

RECENT REVIEWS

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

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Cold Days by Jim Butcher

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Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

NEWS | The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss in Webcomic Form!


If you're anything like me you have been salivating for The Wise Man's Fear. It is without a doubt the most anticipated Fantasy sequel of the last decade. Because The Name of the Wind is such detailed read I underwent a re-read last month in anticipation of The Wise Man's Fear and now Rothfuss teamed with Nathan Taylor have put together a very funny comic version of The Name of the Wind to refresh readers memories. Check it all out here on Rothfuss's blog. Taylor is also Rothfuss's collaborator on The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. If you're looking for me tomorrow I'll either be at Barnes & Noble picking up my copy of The Wise Man's Fear or nose deep in said book.


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ANNOUNCEMENT | Brent Weeks' novella Perfect Shadow on Preorder


A deal has been struck for Brent Weeks' novella Perfect Shadow, placed before the events of the Night Angel Trilogy, to be published in a signed limited edition hardcover from Subterranean Press. The story will also be part of Orbit Book's digital short program, but this will most likely be the only print edition limited to 1,000 copies. So if you're a big fan of Weeks jump on this before it sells out as it will surely do before it is even printed.
The Foul, Unnatural Murder of Gaelan Starfire & the Birth of Durzo Blint

“I got a bit of prophecy,” the old assassin said. “Not enough to be useful, you know. Just glimpses. My wife dead, things like that to keep me up late at night. I had this vision that I was going to be killed by forty men, all at once. But now that you’re here, I see they’re just you. Durzo Blint.”

Durzo Blint? Gaelan had never even heard the name.

***
Gaelan Starfire is a farmer now, happy to be a husband and a father; a careful, quiet, simple man. He’s also an immortal, peerless in the arts of war. Over the centuries, he’s worn many faces to hide his gift, but he is a man ill-fit for obscurity, and all too often he’s become a hero, his very names passing into legend: Acaelus Thorne, Yric the Black, Hrothan Steelbender, Tal Drakkan, Rebus Nimble.

But when Gaelan must take a job hunting down the world’s finest assassins for the beautiful courtesan-and-crimelord Gwinvere Kirena, what he finds may destroy everything he’s ever believed in.

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CLASSIC REVIEW | Ringworld by Larry Niven

Ringworld is one of the best known Sci-Fi novels of the last fifty years. It is often cited along side Ender's Game as a must read member of the Sci-Fi canon long before its inclusion in the Masterworks series. This review was originally intended for the SFF Masterworks Blog, but it just didn't feel right to put it there as I didn't have as much to say as I thought I would.

So, this two hundred year old human, a sexy young blonde, and two aliens crash land in this bar I mean on this flat ring world object....

That is about the gist of Ringworld if a bit on the glib side. Ringworld is an adventurous style Sci-Fi read that has been lauded for generations now ever since it won the Nebula in 1970. Ringworld is hard Sci-Fi, but comes off feeling of a much lighter variety than most even amongst the discussion of genetic breeding, advanced propulsion, and the physics behind moving worlds. Humans have been proliferating dozens of worlds for generations in Known Space to the point that nearly the whole race is pampered all day round and few have any sense of adventure and desire to explore.

Cue human Louis Gridley Wu who at 200 is one of the few with the spirit to leave the comforts of his home and the non-stop party that is everyday life for most humans. After a mysterious two-headed alien from the cowardly and technologically advanced Puppeteer race asks him to journey on a covert mission he acquiesces along with his latest nubile sex partner Teela and a cat-like bi-pedal alien from a warlike race that has been decimated over generations. The group is than off to investigate a mysterious ring around a star and be cannon fodder for the Puppeteer who is basically scared of his own shadow.

In many ways the species names give far too much away to the point of not being veiled at all. Nearly all the characters have ulterior motives for going on the adventure and one in particular is holding back a lot of knowledge. Niven's greatest weakness is the lack of explaining the emotions that the characters are going through. They come off as either two willing or too stilted given some of the revelations that come up. Teela especially comes off as just a sex object and is given very little depth.

Overall, the ideas of evolution are the most interesting aspect explored and many of the other scientific concepts and races are appealing yet the actual story seems to be lacking that aspect that makes you care about it all. Ringworld is clearly an essential read if you're into Science Fiction, but it doesn't seem to hold up as well as other classics written in the same era such as The Left Hand of Darkness or Rendezvous with Rama which also won the Nebula around the same time.

Without Ringworld we probably wouldn't have the video game Halo it has also clearly influenced Banks' Culture novels. I give Ringworld 6.5 out of 10 hats.  I can see why some find Ringworld to be an such a wonderful read what with its massive universe building in such a small page count while telling a fairly original adventure story, but the characters were too one dimensional and the main story was not as grabbing as some of the underlying developments that are sure to be addressed in later volumes in this now long running series (eight books at last count in what is know as the Known Space universe). What Niven started with Ringworld does beg further exploration of the Universe as there are many unanswered questions about the Fleet of Worlds and other races that I'm more than a little curious about. The possibilities for this Universe are quite vast; hopefully they just don't end up as feeling as dated as this effort.

NOTE: After I started reading Ringworld the story seemed very familiar and first I wondered if I had read it before, but that wasn't exactly the case. My reading of Ringworld may have been hampered by Strata by Terry Pratchett which I read a few months prior during a rash of old Pratchett reading. Pratchett's Strata was intended as a comedic version of Ringworld so a lot of the setup, characters, and story were quite similar.

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ART | China Mieville's Embassytown reveal and more


Tor UK planned a big launch for China Mieville's latest novel Embassytown in addition to repackaging his complete backlist with a uniform look.  Tor tried to capture China's theme of blurring worlds and did a rather decent job.  Perdido Street Station and Kraken especially caught by eye although Un Lun Dun doesn't feel right especially since it is a Young Adult novel. Embassytown itself leaves me a bit confused at the moment, but hopefully it will make more sense once I've read it.  Which catches your fancy? 







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VIDEO | Cradle of the Scar by Peter Orullian author of The Unremembered


Peter Orullian is trying to take the Fantasy world by storm. So far he seems off to a good start.  His debut The Unremembered although still two months away from release has already become a juggernaut of pre-publicity buzz, especially with Orullian fanning the flames with all sorts of extra being released on the web.  He was name checked in my interview with Brandon Sanderson months ago. A series of short stories related to the world of The Unremembered in the series known as The Vaults of Heaven has already started to show up with the  "Sacrifice of the First Sheason" being the first out and the second "The Great Defense of Layosah". A gorgeous map of the world is now up as well.  And now Orullian has started a webisode series called "Cradle of the Scar" with a different artist set for each part. Part one was released late last month and here it is for those who haven't caught it yet.




And I'm lucky enough to unveil part 2:




Enjoy.

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REVIEW | The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia

Ekaterina Sedia, over the course of only a few novels, has assembled a body of work that has continually left me in awe of her creative and daring power. Some authors use mythology to merely accentuate their worlds, while Sedia makes mythology grow and change to her whims in lyrical and poetic ways that make them feel like all her own creation.

If you think you've read it all in Fantasy than think again.  Sedia's latest The House of Discarded Dreams gathers odd mythology from around the world to create one of the most unique novels in Speculative Fiction today. Sedia shuns conventionality for a story that seemingly has no connective tissue to form something more than the sum of all its parts. It is the story of a young woman trying to find herself in a country that doesn't feel like her own. It is a modern melding of old and modern mythology and fears. It is a story of dreams and nightmares coming to life.

The story centers around Vimbai, a college student and daughter of African immigrants. Vimbai is drawn to a house in the sand dunes of New Jersey as an escape from her family as she searches for who she wants to be.  Sedia brings some of her own experiences as an immigrant coming to America and living in New Jersey to the fore, but lots of research shows though as well. Africa has a mythology very unlike the style most Fantasy readers are use to, which makes The House of Discard Dreams a very impactful and original read.

Vimbai moves in with two other people who are given sketchy backgrounds, at best, one of which, Felix, has some sort of black hole in place of his hair and the other, Maya, a bartender in Atlantic City, who is the epitome of distant for much of the novel. Soon after moving in the house begins to change and odd things start to appear along the lines of ghosts, Psychic Energy Babies, and talking crabs and fish all of which barely scratches the surface of the complete and utter strangeness of it all.

Even amid all the originality there are some downside issues. The characters come off as distant and unknowable for too much of the story. What drives the other roommates? Maya's dark closet eventually comes out after much cajoling, but Felix comes off more as window dressing and often gets lost in the background.  Sedia also missed an important scene near the beginning where Vimbai tells her parents that she is moving out as she goes from looking at the house to a couple weeks later living there.  And I wasn't completely satisfied with the explanation on the black hole hair-do or how easily everyone accepts the changes in the house.

As the novel closes a good sense of growth is felt for Vimbai as she discovered the confidence and strength she was always looking for. It is an emotional journey that will leave you perfectly satisfied.  All you fans of Charles De Lint take notice. You've got a new favorite author and their name is Ekaterina Sedia. I give The House of Discarded Dreams 8 out of 10 hats. I can't wait to see how Sedia surprises me next and with Heart of Iron coming later this year it won't be too long.

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Cover Unveiled for Before They Are Hanged (Ltd Ed)

Art by Alexander Preuss
Blarg! That's what I have to say about the cover to one of my favorite Fantasy novels of the last decade.

The above is for the Subterranean Press edition of Before They Are Hanged.  I first saw the art itself in mid-January when Sub Press released the piece not mentioning it would be for the cover. They often show a piece that ends up as one of the color plates so I tried not to think too much about it. Yet here is Before They Are Hanged, my favorite volume in the First Law Trilogy with a title treatment that doesn't even go along with their edition of The Blade Itself. That's a big fail in my book for collector series books.


Is it too much to ask for some consistency? I say this all not as just a blogger, but as a consumer. I've bought and paid for the Sub Press's version of The Blade Itself and pre-ordered Before They Are Hanged the first day it was possible to do so. I also order plenty of their other novellas and collections. I'm a very disappointed fan right now.

Come on Joe Abercrombie! Use that might ax you won for the Gemmell Awards to get this set right.


I also want to add that while I don't feel Alexander Preuss' art is right for this world (not nearly Dark or Fantasy enough) I do like his style and as Aidan has pointed out it would look quite lovely on my wall. I'm also, mostly, glad they stuck to the same artist for the same reasons I'm upset. Come on Sub Press! You can't even use the same damn font? These are pricey editions that collectors and hardcore fans want to look all snazzy on our shelves.


P.S. Sorry about all the art posts lately. I promise I have other stuff coming up including a review for Thursday.

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20th Anniversary Edison Cover Unveiled for The Difference Engine

20th Anniversary Edition
The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling was the first well known Steampunk novel building on everything Jeter and Blaylock started, but with its own darker path. This year is the 20th anniversary of its publication and Spectra has given us the best cover yet. Doesn't that cover just take you aback? It is creepy and cool in all the right ways. The eye! Gah! The eye!

While The Difference Engine isn't my favorite cup of tea in the Steampunk area I do appreciate what it did for the genre and I'm glad it has gotten such a classy treatment. It almost makes me want to read it again. The new edition hits shelves late in July and features an introduction from Cory Doctorow.  Here are a few of the treatments The Difference Engine has received around the world, which shows how boring all the US editions thus far have been.

US HC
UK HC

UK paperback
French HC
Spanish
US Mass Market
UK Masterworks Edition
Which one catches your eye?

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New Procurements

And the stacks grow ever bigger. Lots of fine review copies and a few buys showed up this week.


The World House by Guy Adams - I've already talked about this one a bunch. Let's just say I really want to read it soon, which is why I bought it as soon as it was out.
The Age of Odin by James Lovegrove - Even though I haven't read Lovegrove's other Pantheon books I can't pass up anything to do with Norse mythology and this go around it is paired with Military Sci-Fi.
City of Hope & Despair by Ian Whates - The sequel to one of my favorite Cross Genre books last year, The City of Dreams & Nightmare. This is a review copy which sports another gorgeous cover by Greg Bridges.
The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones - This is Jones's debut, which is supposed to be an Arabian Nights meets Sword & Sorcery. Jones is the Editor of Black Gate Magazine, which is well worth checking out for you Swords & Sorcery fans.
The Unremembered by Peter Orullian - This is probably my most anticipated debut for the year thus far. I'm already 50 pages deep as I couldn't resist seeing that unbelievable cover by Kekai Kotak. Even in the ARC copy state the cover is can't miss.
The Sea Thy Mistress by Elizabeth Bear - This is the last book in Edda of Burdens trilogy sent to me for review. It is supposed to be another Norse infused Fantasy tale. I probably won't get to this for awhile, but does anyone know if jumping to the third book would work?


Blackout by Rob Thurman - The latest book in the Cal Leandros appeared to be out as the publisher sent this and the next title for review. I'm a little behind on the series having stopped at Deathwish since I felt the series wasn't moving quickly enough for me. The back cover blurb does make it seem like Cal has changed, which might get me back in.
Dead Waters by Anton Strout - The 4th book in a light Urban Fantasy series. I read the first Dead to Me last year and it was a fine read, but nothing spectacular. It is kind of  like a Ghostbusters/bureaucratic/police procedural mash-up with a bit more weirdos.
The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi  & The Executioness by Tobias Buckell - I've finally got my mitts on these shared world novellas after ordering them months ago. I'll be dipping in them between my next read. I'm told I should start with Buckell's first.
The Boy At the End of the World by Greg Van Eekhout - Greg's latest middle reader following the very fun Kid vs. Squid last year. I'm hoping to get one of my friends kids to do a review, but I'm sure I'll have something to say about it as well.
Revolution World by Katy Stauber - The next 3 are review copies from Night Shade 2 of which are debuting authors. Night Shade is having a growth spurt at the moment and nearly all of their upcoming releases have caught my eye. This one is a biopunk tale in a near future with fire-breathing cows and a Texas trying to separate itself from America.
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells - Wells might be know to some of you as the Nebula nominated author of The Death of the Necromancer.  And this start to a new series has been getting rave reviews so far including a starred review from Publisher's Weekly and this one here.
The Winds of Khalakovo by Bradley P. Beaulieu - This is one that really should have been in my Looking Forward list, but it wasn't until I saw the cover that I was sure. This has been pitched as A Song of Ice and Fire meets A Wizard of Earthsea. That is a lot to live up to and I aim to find out how it does. For map fans out there Bradly just posted the maps of this world.

Now it is back to The Unremembered I go.

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Covers Unveiled for Heaven's Shadow by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt

US Cover
Three years ago, an object one hundred miles across was spotted on a trajectory for Earth's sun. Now, its journey is almost over. As it approaches, two competing manned vehicles race through almost half a million kilometers of space to reach it first. But when they both arrive on the entity, they learn that it has been sent toward Earth for a reason. An intelligent race is desperately attempting to communicate with our primitive species. And the message is: "Help us."
Heaven's Shadow is the debut novel from David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt.  It seems to be a mix of hard Sci-Fi and Thriller, but it hard to tell with the scant information that has been release thus far.  The just released US cover art is quite nice though and intrigues me much more than the UK version (below) as I wasn't too enthused by the color palette. The name David S. Goyer should be familiar to most of you as he is the screenwriter of the Blade Trilogy, the latest Batman Franchise, and notable Sci-Fi movies such as Dark City as well as the too short lived TV shows FlashForward and Treshold. While Michael Cassutt is no slouch either having written episodes of The Twilight Zone, seaQuest DSV, Stargate SG-1, Farscape, Andromeda, and Odyssey 5. He was also the main writer for one of my favorite TV shows as a child Eerie, Indiana.

Heaven's Shadow will be released July 5th and could be quite an entertaining summer read. It is also the start to

UK Cover

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Mad Hatter's Reading Log Vol 3.

I've been a bit lax in keeping up my log so this will be a longer edition than normal.  First up are the reads I finished before the end of December, which included a couple standouts I was glad to fit into my year-end round-up.


City of Dreams and Nightmares by Ian Whates  - This is Whates' debut novel and it was quite a fun trip in a city made up of a hundred floors/levels. I included it in in my best of post so it couldn't be too bad. It is New Weirdish with lots of innovative ideas, but without the horror aspect, at least so far. This is only the start to a series so there is plenty more to this world as we only glimpse some of the levels and spend most of it on the poorer sewer-like areas. I just want to know what is with the cyclops from the cover as he only appears briefly in the story?

CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh - This is a debut author trying to emulate an older style of Military Sci-Fi that fell flat for me. The characters grated on me and their emotions were over explained along with dialogue that needed to be stronger. There were some nice touches such as psychic abilities being used for pilots and some good fight scenes.  However, it wasn't engaging, but does show some promise if the author can up his game with his next story.

The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia - I never know what to expect from a Sedia novel and she more than delivered this time around with a work mixing in African mythology, Psychic Energy Babies, and a hole in the universe growing off some guy's head. Very weird stuff, but it beautifully and emotionally well done. If you like your Fiction out of the box Sedia is a can't miss author. I hope to do a full review.

Lireal by Garth Nix - This is the second book in the much loved Abhorsen trilogy.  Go read some Nix. That's an order. You can thank me later. I've been holding myself back from reading each succeeding book just so I have something to go to when I get in a reading rut.

***********


January and early February was a pretty good reading period. Starting now I'll be keeping track of all reads this year by number as I curious exactly how many books I read in a year. I have a good idea of the number (probably around 100 or so), but I've never kept good track before.

  1. 1. A Hard Day's Knight by Simon R. Green - The penultimate novel in the Nightside series keeps the going quite strong. If you liked the last few in the series you'll definitely like this one. Lots of Arthurian mythos mixed in with Green's dark bent.
  2. 2. The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe - Wolfe's Books of the New Sun series are some of the most highly regarded works in modern Sci-Fi/Fantasy.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around the story, world and characters, which is as I expected. In the end I enjoyed the story, but I was probably trying too hard to read it on different levels. The next volume I'll just try to sit back and enjoy it.
  3. 3. Diving Mimes, Weeping Czars, and Other Unusual Suspects by Ken Scholes - This is Scholes's second short story collection and contains two stories related to the world of The Psalms of Isaak, which makes it worth grabbing just for those alone. The collection as a whole shows the breadth of Scholes ample skills from the emotional to the hilarious.
  4. 4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - Check out my re-read posts here and here.
  5. 5. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin - Some of you might be saying: That Steve Martin? And the answer is yes. Only this isn't a comedy, but Martin's first full length novel after the very fine novellas Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company both of which explore the idea of identity and longing for something else the latter of which was quite funny. This time around Martin explores the NYC art scene of the 90s and early 00s from the inside out. The love and appreciation for art come through although the main character left me cold yet I still cared what happened to her at the end.
  6. 6.  God's War by Kameron Hurley - See my review of what is the best Sci-Fi debut I've read this year so far or my interview with Hurley.
  7. 7.  Brave New Worlds edited by John Joseph Adams - Highly recommended. Review to come.
  8. 8.  Axe Cop (Vol. 1) by Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle - This webcomic is simply amazing. Go read it now or watch the fan made video. It will blow your mind hole.
  9. 9.  A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham - With all the talk of Abraham's new Fantasy entry The Dragon's Path I want to revisit his first series with a reread, which again made me appreciate the depth of prose he is capable of. Check out Aidan's review, which more than does Abraham's debut justice. I'm now ready for The Dragon's Path.
  10. 10.  Bloodshot by Cherie Priest - This was an absolute gas.  If you like Urban Fantasy with humor this is a can't miss. Review to come.
  11. 11. The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett - Brett's debut from a couple years ago has been sitting on my to-read shelf for over a year and it was high time I got to what many consider up there with Abercrombie and Rothfuss. This was a fantastic read in a richly imagined world, very fine fight scenes, and an intriguing premise. At first it was odd how things are split up from character POVs that took some getting use to. Just when you felt yourself get invested with one character we jump to a new one. But after the main players are introduced it is smooth sailing. Overall, it is a must read for Fantasy fans. And luckily I have The Desert Spear to look forward already in my collection. I may do a full review at some point.
  12. 12. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch - This new Urban Fantasy debut was quite fun, but I didn't care much for one of the two main story lines. However, this book shows great promise for a long running series and a likable protagonist. It is not a new Dresden, but it isn't trying to be either, which is a very good thing. Review most likely to come.
  13. 13.  Farlander by Col Buchanan - A strong debut for world-building fans, but a tad weak on the character side. Very interesting mix of Flintlock Fantasy in a slightly industrialize world light on magic with airships, but this certainly isn't Steampunk. I'm intrigued enough to check out the next volume Stands a Shadow after it is released. Fans of Brent Weeks and Jon Sprunk would definitely find something new in this assassin's guild style novel.
  14. 14.  Brightest Day (Vol. 1) by Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi - The aftermath of Blackest Night starts to hit home as the heroes resurrected try to find purpose. This series is off to splendid start. Now when can I get the next volume?
  15. 15. Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and The Heirs of the Storm (Vol. 9) by Phil & Kaja Foglio - The latest volume keeps the story on an even keel with the past and if one axiom is true it is "There's never enough Girl Genius." At least I have the first GG novel in my hands now.
  16. 16.  The Goon: Death's Greedy Comeuppance (Vol. 10) by Eric Powell - The latest volume of The Goon is something of a tease as only two issues worth are actually about the Goon, one of which is done with no dialogue.  The rest of the collection is comprised of the Buzzard mini series about the reverse zombie's adventures apart from the Goon. It was great getting a more in-depth window into Buzzard, but I wanted more Goon. The art is still second to none in the comic game.
  17. 17.  Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt - Oswalt brings the funny pretty well, but the chapters are a bit uneven. The titular chapter was incredibly funny, especially if you grew up nerd as he associated every thing to either zombie, spaceships, and wastelands. The script notes chapter had me in tears as Patton dissembles a clearly awful script I just wonder how close to real these notes were. If you are a big Patton fan grab it. If you're not too huge a fan wait for the paperback as this volume is a bit slim for the cover price.

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Cover Unveiled for 10th Anniversary Edition of American Gods by Neil Gaiman


Many well read books get anniversary editions, but few if any get a re-release in hardcover for said anniversary. American Gods by Neil Gaiman is that odd duck that gets the honor this year from Morrow in an Author's Preferred Edition this June.  The cover mimics the direction of both the US hardcover and paper release only in a more staid fashion.  This edition being the preferred will also contain about 12,000 more words than the original release plus a new introduction. The hardcover first edition was 480 pages and this edition will clock in at 544 pages or so. Before you could only get this version in the Hill House limited edition and I believe there was a British edition that came out as well, but this version has never seen wide release in the States.

American Gods has been my go to novel not only for re-reading, but as a gift. At this point I've given or lent a copy to nearly all of my friends. I currently own a signed first edition hardcover, the lovely signed limited edition from Hill House along with the accompanying reading copy, and a paperback edition which is probably the 4th or 5th I've owned after all the lending.  So do I need the new version? No. But will I get the new version? You know it. The completest in me can't keep away.  Below I've also assembled a sampling of the cover treatments American Gods has received around the world. Some are pretty out there. I'm still a fan of the original hardcover release.

US Hardcover
UK Hardcover
US Paperback
UK paperback (author's preferred edition)
French Hardcover
Spanish Hardcover
Russian Hardcover
Polish Hardcover
German Hardcover
So which is your favorite?  Also, the Wertster has news on a Good Omens TV mini-series in development that apparently has the blessing of Neil and Terry Pratchett.

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Cover Unveiled for Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh

Art by Nonie Nelson
Soft Apocalypse is Will McIntosh's debut novel based off his short story of the same name first published in Interzone. I've always had a soft spot for apocalyptic tales and this one certainly seems different enough that it will stand out especially given McIntosh's recent win of the Hugo for his short "Bridesicle." As for the cover it doesn't do anything too out of the box and should do fine to attract the right audience, but leaves me a little cold.  Soft Apocalypse will be released in this April from Night Shade Books.
What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America's previously stable society apart, the "New Normal" is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang.

"It's so hard to believe," Colin said as we crossed the steaming, empty parking lot toward the bowling alley.

"What?"

"That we're poor. That we're homeless."

"I know."

"I mean, we have college degrees," he said.

"I know," I said.

There was an ancient miniature golf course choked in weeds alongside the bowling alley. The astroturf had completely rotted away in places. The windmill had one spoke. We looked it over for a minute (both of us had once been avid mini golfers), then continued toward the door. "By the way," I added. "We're not homeless, we're nomads. Keep your labels straight."

New social structures and tribal connections spring up across America, as the previous social structures begin to dissolve. Soft apocalypse follows the journey across the South East of a tribe of formerly middle class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.

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NEWS | A Song of Ice & Fire to be Made Into Graphic Novels


A lot of ideas were bandied about regarding George R.R. Martin's announcement that was supposed to be made on his LA trip in early January. People were theorizing an official announcement regarding the long anticipated A Dance With Dragons, news on the video game in development, but the news is actually about comic books. Bantam, George's novel publisher, is teaming up with Dynamite Entertainment to bring us the graphic adaptation of A Song of Ice & Fire with Daniel Abraham doing the script adapting. Abraham outside of being an accomplish author has been adapting GRRM's works to comic form for the past year including Fevre Dream and Wild Cards: The Hard Call.  Here is a bit from the official press release:
Bantam Books, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, announced today the acquisition of the comic book and graphic novel rights to the worldwide bestselling A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. The series will be illustrated by Tommy Patterson and adapted by Daniel Abraham, the award-winning and bestselling author of The Long Price Quartet. The first issue of the monthly comic-which will be published by Dynamite Entertainment-is planned to release in late spring 2011, with compilations of the comics in graphic novel form to follow under the Bantam imprint. With the television adaptation of A Game of Thrones scheduled to air on HBO starting in April 2011, the comics and graphic novels will further expand the Song of Ice and Fire series into a new medium, creating opportunities for readers old and new to immerse themselves in this bestselling world.
Jon Snow
Tyrion Lannister
Some may remember Dynamite from my article last year about them buying the rights to all the properties held  by Dabel Brothers including the Dresden Files and Wheel of Time graphic novels. Dynamite expects the first issue to be release in late Spring with Bantam doing the collected trade editions.  Tommy Patterson is the artist slated to work on the series and a couple samples of his take on the characters has been released.

Martin also mentioned there was second announcement that was supposed to be made in January. And speculation runs rampant about A Dance with Dragons yet again. Fingers crossed!

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REVIEW | The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

"Unhappy the land that is in need of Heroes." -Bertoldt Brecht
About ten years after the events of The First Law Trilogy the Union and the North (lead by Black Dow) are battling for supremacy in the region and things have been bloody. But things are only going to get bloodier before it is finished if things like this can ever truly end. One battle over three days will decide the fate of thousands and leave just as many mired in the mud. There are no heroes. Only survivors.

The Heroes brings Abercrombie's biggest cast of characters to date flipping through dozens of view points. Just don't get attached to anyone in particular. This is war and it is a bloody one, but aren't they all? Abercrombie smartly included a persona glossary at the beginning of the book to keep all the players in perspective, but it is best to refer to it only as you need to since it can spoil the surprise of a few notable characters who pop-up.
"Corporal Tunny had long ago acquired a reputation as the fiercest sleeper in his majesty's army. He could sleep on anything, in any situation, and wake in an instant ready for action, or, better still, to avoid it."
The Heroes evokes the feeling of a military Fantasy perfectly as it travels across the battlefield from the view of those at the top to the lowly footmen stuck in the swamps. It reminded me quite a bit of Glen Cook's The Black Company, especially a certain Corporal Tunny. For those concerned, The Heroes is not all the doom, gloom, and causticness of Best Served Cold, which however entertaining you found it left most of us a bit cold. The Heroes livens things up and turns a battle that shouldn't mean anything in a place that doesn't mean much to anyone to an event that changes the face of the North featuring many of the side players from The First Law Trilogy.

Abercrombie really gets you down into the mud and blood of battles entrenching you next to all the warriors as they rise and mostly fall deeper and deeper into the mud with some perspectives lasting only a few paragraphs. The viewpoints flows easily from one scene to the next once you realize how often the view changes. The Heroes is filled with cravens, madmen, the corrupt, and those in to deep to wade themselves out of danger and a few people that aren't as deplorable and just want to live through the day. The story focuses on 3 main figures all of who have their own idiocracies in the style Abercrombie has become known for.
"Dignity ain't much use to the living, it's none to the dead."
One problem I had was the lack of a standout character or two as opposed to Abercrombie's other books. I've always found one or two characters I couldn't wait to get back to such as Logan and Glotka in The First Law or Friendly in Best Served Cold. I know, I know. I like them good and crazy. With the flipping of perspectives so much you get a surprisingly good sense of who most of the characters are that they hardly left me wanting for more. So this might be a case of overdoing expectations.
"Wondering what strange convergence of mischances could have allowed this madness to happen. And what other one might allow him to get out of it alive."
But the action, dark humor, and all the tension kept me captivated and pushing forward along with the fantastic battle sequences that are exquisitely executed. Shivers is even more of a scary fuck than he was in Best Served Cold and would probably appear more so to those who haven't read BSC. The Heroes shows that Abercrombie's considerable talents are being used quite well and while I still didn't fancy The Heroes as much as his Trilogy it is still sure to be one of the best Fantasy releases this year. In the end the story seems very small in comparison to the events of the First Law Trilogy, but it does lead to some tantalizing ideas concerning one of our favorite characters from the trilogy.


The Heroes ultimately makes you think about war and everyone's place in it and how hardly anyone wishes to take part for the right reasons. I give The Heroes 9 out of 10 hats. As if Abercrombie hadn't already cemented his place in Fantasy The Heroes proves he is a modern master. The Heroes can certainly be read as the standalone it is intended as, but you get a lot more out of the characters if you're read The First Law. I can't wait to see what Abercrombie has brewing for us next.

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