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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

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Cold Days by Jim Butcher

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Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

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My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

Mad Hatter's Reading Log Vol. 9 (September)

So September was a rough month for getting reading time in. Yet it was an entertaining month.


83.  Reality 36 by Guy Haley - An AI detective (Richards) is teamed with a German-born Cyborg (Klein) in the 22nd century to track down a missing scientist important to the AI community . Hilarity and loads of action ensue. I really enjoyed Richards snarky voice and the story on a whole despite figuring out who the bad guy is halfway though. This is Haley's debut, but you'll certainly be hearing a lot more from him with a sequel (Omega Point) already in the pipeline and a standalone called Champion of Mars coming out in 2012. I'll definitely be reading the sequel as your left on a big cliffhanger. Recommended.
84.  The Door to Lost Pages by Claude Lalumiere - This is quite a hard novella of linked short stories to describe and typifies exactly what kind of books ChiZine is trying to publish in the Dark Fiction realm. I guess Dark Meta Fiction is the most apt. Most of the action centers around a bookstore called Lost Pages which is what first attracted me. You can never trust what you are reading as the store moves around different realities. Sexuality and identity are explored in-depth sometimes to an almost uncomfortable degree. Characters come and go, but the store endures. A long battle of dark gods against light gods is being fought around the store that left me wanting more. Highly recommended, but some sexual material may not suit all readers.


85.  The Scarab Path by Adrian Tchaikovsky - The 5th volume in the Shadows of the Apt series. I quite enjoyed the first 4 books, which formed a major arc while Scarab is more of an intermediary/bridge book to whatever comes next. Che and Thalric are again central characters along with a surprise visit from one major character nearly all fans of the series have been wanting to see again. The world widens as we visit a never before seen region of the Kinden world. The pacing in this volume seemed slower than all the previous stories, but no less enthralling. Recommended for series fans.
86.  The Rift Walker by Clay & Susan Griffith - This sequel to the very successfully done The Greyfriar, lives up to the first volume. Romance, pulp action, and a crazy vampire war are stirred up to make a  hugely entertaining read. We explore more of the human realms and get a lot of back history on the cultures that have developed. This is definitely more Adele's book as she comes into her powers and the stage is set for the big confrontation for the third volume.  Highly recommended.


87.  Aloha from Hell by Richard Kadrey - Fulfills nearly everything that has been built up since Sandman Slim.  Short review here.
88.  "Exhalation" by Ted Chiang - I can't pass up anything Chiang and his take on a robot society . This story is actually available free courtesy for Night Shade Books. Highly recommended.


89.  Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors Vol 1. - Guy Gardner is going bad again. Or is he? Something is definitely amiss with many of the other Green Lanterns and Guy goes to investigate the forbidden zone in search of answers. Not the strongest book in the Brightest Day arc, but plenty of galactic action and Gardner's trademark sarcastic wit. Recommended for Green Latern Corp fans.
90.  Superman: The Black Ring Vol. 2 - Lex Luthor's quest for power never ends, but it is always fun seeing him try. The first volume of the story was wonderful while this felt too compressed and should have been 3 volumes. It seems things were cut short due to the whole DC 52 relaunch, which has deprived us of a mini-series that could have been much more memorable. Recommended with reservations.
91.  Circle Tide by Rebecca K. Rowe - This is Sci-Fi Thriller that moves along at a good pace with a lot of nice touches including knife crazy monks and humans who store their memories on computers. Only Noah and Rika can stop stop a killer fungal virus as they run from everyone in order to stop a killer virus. The romantic part of the story didn't work for me, but the ideas about politics, class, and memories were quite interesting. Recommended.

This month was all over the place despite being the fewest number of stories read this year.  My favorites were Aloha from Hell and The Rift Walker, but The Door to Lost Pages is certainly a worthy read for those into the dark things from life.

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My Favorite Reads of 2011 So Far

Cover Unveiled for Redshirts by John Scalzi


A new John Scalzi is always something to look forward to.  Few authors can mix humor and just good old fashion storytelling as well as he does.  And sometime next year (probably June) we'll be treated to a new standalone Sci-Fi novel called Redshirts.  The cover is perfect to convey just what is in store for us.  Over at Tor.com there is a post by Irene Gallo showcasing some of the alternative covers and while I like the 3rd option the final above works much better.

Some will bemoan the fact that it isn't a new Old Man's War book or another Fuzzy novel, but my favorite Scalzi is still The Android's Dream and given the Star Trek references that will abound I have no doubt Redshirts will be awesome.  Here is the blurb:
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn’t be better...until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed. Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy belowdecks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is...and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.
Can you feel the warp factor?

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New Cover Unveiled for Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


As my gushing review a couple months back intimated I'm a huge fan of Ernest Cline's debut Ready Player One. It is simply one of the most enjoyable books I've read in the last 10 years and pushed all the right geek buttons. For the paperback release Cline's publisher has decided to not use the pac-man cover, except for the basic type. But the kicker is that they've illustrated the trailer stacks the protagonist Wade Watts lives in, which amount to a future slum. So for those of you who didn't bite for the hardcover release (really, just ask for it for Christmas, you won't regret it) will have the cheaper paperback version out in April.


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INTERVIEW | Rob Ziegler author of Seed

New Procurements (Comic Con & Sundry)

It has been a busy past couple of weeks.  My house is finally finished being worked on and now we're setting things back to rights.  I did manage to sneak in a visit to New York Comic Con and a trip to a bookstore.  First up my grabs from NYCC.


My taste in comics is a bit different than most people for my collecting purposes.  I'll read Superhero comics from DC and Marvel, but when I buy it is usually more indie comics I want. My affinity for The Goon and The Mice Templar are pretty well know around here.  So this year at NYCC I was looking for the unusual and also who was there signing. Orcs: Forged for War by Stan Nicholls with art by Joe Flood is actually a prequel to the Orcs series by Nicholls.  I'm a big fan of the first Orcs Trilogy so I'm eager to start this one, which I got the artist to sign. Than I stopped by the Archaia booth and did some damage getting Jim Henson's The Storyteller, which hadn't officially been released yet along with Days Missing by Phil Hester, David Hine, Ian Edginton and Matz and Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann and Janet Lee with the latter signed by the artist. Archaia are also the publishers of MouseGuard and the Fraggle Rock collections that are all gorgeous.


Some gorgeous looking review copies have come my way as well.  Shadow Ops: Control Point is Myke Cole's debut which is pitched as the modern military mixed with sorcery and comes out at the end of January, which goes right on my anticipated titles for 2012 pile. Joining it is Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, which is finally mine. Do check out the cool cover on that oneFenrir, M.D. Lachlin's sequel to Wolfsangel is looking very sexy. And at the bottom is a longtime preorder, The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding as I can never wait for the next installment of the Ketty Jay crew.


A bunch of other books I've been waiting for showed up as well.  The Emperor's Knife by Mazarkis Williams is a debut coming from Night Shade that a lot of people are already talking about, but it won't even be out until December. This is a UK galley I received from the author.  Next is Infidel by Kameron Hurley the follow-up to the great God's War and I've already devoured Infidel and it is just as good as the first.  Boneyards is the third Diving Universe book from Kristin Kathryn Rusch, which is a series I just plain love. Next are three debuts from Night Shade who have turned up the debut juice this year. The Panama Laugh by Thomas Roche looks to be a Zombie Thriller with a dark humor bent.  Thomas World by Richard Cox looks to be very much in the vein of Philip K. Dick.  Necropolis from Michael Dempsey is a Noir Sci-Fi novel with a man who was sentenced to death is brought back to life decades later and goes detecting.


The above are from a trip up to Market Block Books in Troy, NY while visiting family this past weekend under the guise of buying books for my niece and nephew. I couldn't help grab a couple for myself. The Recollection by Gareth L. Powell is one that's been on my lists for awhile since I enjoyed his novella Silversands last year. Stoner by John Williams is just one of those books that's caught my eye more than once and I finally succumbed. The Spice Necklace was my wife's pick while The Mysterious Benedict Society was recommended to me by my sister-in-law and given the cover price was only $7 I decided to take it for a whirl. 

There are so, so many books from above I've been looking forward to but the first ones that will be cracked besides they already read Infidel are The Emperor's Knife, Boneyards, Throne of the Crescent Moon, and The Iron Jackal. But The Recollection and Fenrir look darn good as well.  Hmmm...  The comics will be read between books.

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Cover Unveiled for Daniel H. Wilson's AMPED


After the huge success of Daniel H. Wilson's Robopocalypse (review here) this year many are eager for his next offering and we don't have too long to wait. Wilson's follow-up is Amped, which will be out in June. The cover above may not be final, but it is certainly intriguing if a little subdued compared to Robopocalypse. Amped isn't related to Robopocalypse, but it still treads into areas Wilson is very knowledgeable about. Amped is a techno-thriller that like Max Barry's recent Machine Man (review here) explores the idea of what it means to be human. Here is a bit more detail from an NPR interview with Wilson earlier this year:
WILSON: Yeah. In fact, that question was really appropriate, because my follow-up is called "Amped," and it's about this near future. There's no robots in "Amped," by the way, which is sort of, I know, a departure. But it's about this near future in which people are starting to integrate technology into their bodies a lot, and we're starting to realize that people who we thought were disabled are becoming super-abled. And it's really a mind, you know, it's total shift in thinking. And some people are interested in, you know, not having to implant their children in order to have them be competitive in school.
And, you know, I think that adopting new technology is always a change and it's always scary. But the moment that it starts going into our bodies is going to be a pretty scary moment for civilization, and I think it's coming.
Also of note is that Wilson's middle-grade reader A Boy and His Bot will be released in paperback this January for those wanting more robot related fiction.

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REVIEW | Aloha from Hell by Richard Kadrey

Richard Kadrey is guilty of attempted murder. He is trying to give me a heart attack. Me and all the other readers of the Sandman Slim books. He just won't let up on the adrenaline he infuses in this Urban Fantasy series and Aloha From Hell is the worst and most exciting culprit yet.

Aloha From Hell sees Stark aka Sandman Slim trying to more than live up to the hype as he dives back into Hell on a quest to confront all the baddies he left behind and sent there. If you thought Stark showed his blood-thirst in the first two books you haven't seen anything yet as he flashes to the beast he was when first sent to Hell and everyday was a fight for survival.

Given the big reveal found near the end of Kill the Dead I was expecting Aloha to show a different side of Stark. A side I wasn't necessarily looking forward to, but Stark still keeps his attitude going despite his lighter half arguing along the way. Stark is still the most capable monster out there.

Aloha is much closer in tone to the first in the series than Kill the Dead as it showed Stark getting a bit too buddy-buddy with a lot of people. That isn't him. He's a loner. Aloha gets him back on track and brings it all to a strong finish despite throwing in a completely unneeded tag-along partner for too many chapters that could have been done without. There are still a loose threads left open for more in this series, but we get closure on a lot of Stark's past leaving him open to face his future. Kadrey's version of God also takes the stage and He is nothing like you've seen before.

Dark. Disturbing. Funny as hell. Three things that don't usually come in the same package, but Aloha From Hell delivers it all. Kadrey will be writing at least a couple more Sandman Slim books as he signed a new contract. Bring it on.

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INTERVIEW | Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Rob Ziegler is a name that you may not be familiar with as he only has a couple published credits to his name, but his debut Seed is poised to make a big impact in the Sci-Fi genre. Combining elements of near-future Sci-Fi, bioengineering, and post apocalyptic life-style Seed ventures into a world that is all too close to what our own could turn into.

MH: Thanks for joining us today Rob. To start us off can you tell us a little about yourself and your road to becoming an author?

ROB: I live with my wife in rural western Colorado, where I mostly grew up. My day job is property management, which is great because it allows me lots of time to write. And hike. My wife and I hike a lot in the mountains during the summer.

My road to becoming an author was fairly straightforward, if long. I knew as far back as high school that I wanted to write fiction, so I was able to focus on writing a lot in college. After college I let all kinds of career opportunities slide so that I could stay committed to writing. Mostly I wrote short stories. I only tried to sell a few, and almost all of them were rejected. It was like that for the better part of a decade: it just felt like practice.

I didn’t start trying to write novels until I was about thirty. I wrote two, and they were both horrible. There was so much I didn’t know...You can write a million short stories and it won’t teach you how to write a novel. I could tell they were bad books, but I knew so little I couldn’t even come up with a framework for how to do it better, so things could have gone on like that for a long time.

Fortunately, in 2008 I won a short story contest put on by the Rocky Mountain News. It was the first sci-fi story I’d written, and it got me connected with other sci-fi writers, namely Sarah Kelly. She invited me down to Flagstaff in 2009 for her Starry Heaven workshop, modeled after Charlie Finlay’s Blue Heaven workshops, basically a week of total immersion in the craft of novel building with a dozen sharp writers.

It was revelatory for me. I brought an early draft of Seed, and my Starry Heaven compadres took me straight to school. They gently let me know what I was doing wrong, and taught me some real fundamentals, stuff that’s obvious once you know, but that I probably never would’ve figured out on my own. I owe those folks a huge debt. Without their help I doubt I would’ve gotten Seed or anything else off the ground, probably ever.
 


MH: I've heard of Finlay's group, but didn't know it has inspired off shots. It seems like a lot of today's writers are coming from Clarion or groups like Blue Heaven. Now can you tell me a bit about Seed? Would Military Biopunk be an apt short descriptor?

ROB: Military Biopunk is a great phrase, I might steal it from you. It definitely describes certain aspects of the book. There are commandos, railguns, battles, so it’s definitely military. There’s a lot of bio stuff, an entire bioengineered city, actually, and parts of the story have a punk “fight the man” sensibility. Another big part of the story is about an orphan boy and his younger brother scraping by as scavengers and highwaymen in the lawless badlands of an American southwest that’s been ravaged by long drought, the result of climate change. All of that has a bit of a spaghetti western vibe. So maybe Military Spaghetti Bio Ecopunk. With heart.

MH: Very cool. I don't think I've seen any sort of Spaghetti Western themes used in Sci-Fi before. One term I've always like is Greenpunk, but it hasn't caught on just yet. What drew you to incorporating environmental concerns into your fiction?

ROB: I guess I don’t think of Seed as an environmental book, exactly. Incorporating environmental devastation was really just about the world building, looking at our a world today and wondering “where are we going?” And obviously there are some big problems on the table at the moment. Things like resource depletion vis -a -vis an exploding population; climate change, with all its nonlinear weirdness; the toxification of our food chain—things that will, it seems to me, end up defining our future if we don’t start making smarter, more sustainable choices. Seed takes place in that future where people have continually failed to make the smart choices, until there really are no choices left to make. It’s a scary, depleted place. But for me that’s also an aesthetic choice. I wanted that wild west feeling, a world where the characters all have to deal with scarcity and lawlessness, and where they get by on this odd mix of victimization and the humane helping hand—small moments of grace, to use the term of a friend of mine. So although the world is defined by environmental catastrophe, the story’s not really about that. Mostly, it’s this soldier trying to save her country, and in the process, her lover. And about this orphan boy trying to find a better life for his little brother.

MH: Now you've told us how you came to write and workshop Seed, but what is your publication story? Was Night Shade your first stop or was it shopped around? 

ROB: The selling of Seed was pretty standard, I think. My agent sent it to several houses simultaneously, Night Shade among them. I have a couple of friends who also have books with Night Shade, and I really like NS’s aesthetic, so I was quietly hoping it would be them who came through with the best offer. And they did!


MH: The cover to Seed is pretty incredible. What was your first thought when you saw the cover to Seed?  

ROB: My first thought when I saw the cover...I just laughed. I was so happy. Ross, my editor at NS, had told me Cody Tilson was the artist they were going with, so I’d scoped out Cody’s other cover art, and knew Seed was going to look good, because everything Cody does rocks. But I was still blown away. I couldn’t be happier with how it looks. I don’t actually know Cody, but I hope someday our paths cross. I owe that boy a beer.

 MH: What makes Seed's main character Sienna Doss special? 

ROB: I passed this question along to my wife and she says, “Because Doss is a kickass woman!” Which is true, Doss is tough, and kicks all kinds of ass. It made her scenes a lot of fun to write. But I’d go further, and say that what makes Doss special is her unwavering sense of duty. She’s utterly dedicated. To her country, to her lover, to her fellow soldiers. She puts herself on the line, again and again, without hesitation, even when the odds are hopeless. It takes a terrible emotional toll on her, but she finds a way to keep going. She’s heroic like that.

MH: Now that Seed is only months away from publication what else are you working on? Is Seed intended to be a standalone?

ROB: Seed is intended as a standalone. I have some ideas for a sequel, but right now I’m far more interested in other stuff. At the moment I’m working on a new sci-fi novel tentatively titled Angel City. It’s about a kid growing up in a weird future L.A. where all media is beamed straight into the frontal lobes. He’s determined to get rich by building the ultimate semi-sentient porn search bot—a bot whose personality, you’ll be happy to know, is based on Carroll’s White Rabbit.

MH: Now on to the important stuff. What is your favorite type of hat?

ROB: This type, definitely:
Image from DailyDawdle.com
MH: Nice. You might need something to brush the hair off with though. What are two things most people don't know about you? Do you keep a garden full of monkey statues? 

ROB: Two things most people don’t know...I hate snakes. I love dumb knock knock jokes.

MH: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Is there anything you'd like to say to close us out?

ROB: My pleasure. Seed will be out November 1st. The first three chapters are available for free at my website: Zieglerstories.com. Thanks for having me.

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VIDEO | Trailer for the new Muppets movie

No this isn't another one of their little gag videos, which I've been loving this year. This is the official trailer for The Muppets, which is the new movie that will be out next month.  Enjoy.  And as I said on twitter the other day:  Only those without souls dislike Henson.

Cover Unveiled for Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks


Wow. That is all that really comes to mind when I sit here and stare at Raymond Swanland's latest piece done for the Subterranean Press limited edition of Perfect Shadow. Perfect Shadow is Brent Weeks' novella prequel to the Night Angel series that I've mention a couple times prior and Sub Press certainly did it justice.

I have had the opportunity to read the story as it is out in eBook form through Orbit books (it's great for fans of the trilogy), but I've been negligent in reviewing it as I'm waiting for my hardcopy to show up, which it appears is getting closer. To those collectors out there you'll want to get your pre-order in soon as the Publisher is anticipating Perfect Shadow being sold out upon publication. Luckily I got my order in months ago.

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NEWS | New Carlos Ruiz Zafon and More Gail Carriger Steampunk Goodness


Thanks to Dark Wolf for the news of a new Carlos Ruiz Zafon novel being released this fall in Spanish, which is part of the world he started with The Shadow of the Wind, one of my all-time favorite books. The new book is titled El Prisionero del Cielo, which translates to The Prisoner of Heaven. The Prisoner of Heaven again plays with the time period a bit and takes place during the 40's and 50's. Although the novel will be released in Spain in November nothing is firm on a US release. Judging by the release schedule for Zafon's last effort, The Angel's Game, we may see the US Spanish edition a couple months after the release in Spain and the English translation 4 to 6 months after that. So hopefully by Summer 2012 we'll all be lost in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books once again and back in the Gothic Barcelona that has no end of intrigue and romance.


Gail Carriger is also keeping her writing schedule quite full.  Even though February 2012 will mark the fifth and final Alexia Tarrabotti novel with Timeless, it won't be the end of the Alternative past she created. A while back I learned Carriger would be venturing into the YA field with a Steampunk series tentatively titled The Finishing School. The first book will be titled Etiquette and Espionage is placed about 20 years before the events of Soulless and should be out in Fall 2012. But there is even more afoot. Here is a bit from Orbit's official announcement:
Orbit US will publish Gail Carriger’s next adult series, The Parasol Protectorate Abroad. The series is tentatively scheduled to launch in 2013 with book one, Prudence, to be followed by Imprudence (naturally).
So it looks like we have plenty of Carriger to look forward to over the next few years. And don't forget the manga adaptation of Soulless is on track for a March 2012 release.

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New Procurements


Above are the books sent to me for review over the last 10 days or so, but I'm only going to concentrate on a few titles from the batch. At the top is Steven Harper's The Doomsday Vault, which is the start to a new Steampunk and should be in stores shortly. Mark Hodder's next Burton & Swinburne adventure sees the duo traveling to Africa to search for the source of the Nile in Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon.

A couple years back I wrote something of a diatribe about a new I, Robot trilogy coming written by Mickey Zucker Reichert, which is officially authorized by the Isaac Asimov estate. I Robot: To Protect comes out this November and I can say they at least did a great job with the cover. I'm still on the fence about reading it as I haven't read the Robot books in a long, long time, but the new trilogy is supposed to be a prequel series.  Though as I stare at the book I'm reminded that I've been meaning to re-read the first couple of Foundation books for the last year.

Stone Spring is the first new Stephen Baxter book that has intrigued me in quite awhile, since I read the Manifold trilogy and found it a bit lacking the further into the series I delved. I enjoy Baxter's alternative history related stories the best and Stone Spring takes place 10,000 years ago so it just may work for me.

Briarpatch is Tim Pratt's latest contemporary Fantasy and seems a bit darker than his normal novel-length work that is out now. This is also my first review copy from up-and-coming indie publisher ChiZine who have been earning a name as purveyors of strange fictions. I in particular enjoyed the meta-heavy A Door to Lost Pages by Claude Lalumière that I read a month or so back, bumps and all.  Eyes to See is Joseph Nassise's start to a new dark Urban Fantasy series and the blurb really attracts me:
In an urban fantasy that charts daring new territory in the field, Jeremiah Hunt has been broken by a malevolent force that has taken his young daughter and everything else of value in his life: his marriage, his career, his reputation. Desperate to reclaim what he has lost, Hunt finally turns to the supernatural for justice.

Abandoning all hope for a normal life, he enters the world of ghosts and even more dangerous entities from beyond the grave. Sacrificing his normal sight so that he can see the souls of the dead and the powers that stalk his worst nightmares, Hunt embarks upon a strange new career--a pariah among the living; a scourge among the dead; doomed to walk between the light of day and the deepest darkness beyond night.

His love for his departed daughter sustains him when all is most hopeless, but Hunt is cursed by something more evil than he can possibly imagine. As he descends into the maelstrom of his terrifying quest, he discovers that even his deepest fears are but prelude to yet darker deeds by a powerful entity from beyond the grave...that will not let him go until it has used him for its own nefarious purposes.
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NEWS | The Magicians Optioned for TV and a new Sanderson Novella


According to Deadline.com Fox has optioned Lev Grossman's The Magicians for a TV series.  The co-writers on the project are Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz who previously worked on the Fox series Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles as well as writers on many comic book movies including X-Men: First Class and Thor.  Given The Magicians edginess and modern setting this could be a good fit for Fox, but I'll be curious how they handle the sexual aspects of the story. Plus special effects will only increase as the story goes on when the more fantastical elements kick-in.  I see the first season being mostly set at Brakebills with the season finale leading to the other world part of the story for season two.  As of right now the series is not green-lighted, but a pilot script is in the works and according to io9 Fox's contract has a penalty, which usually implies they'll at least film the pilot.


This week Brandon Sanderson released a surprised e-only novella called Infinity Blade: Awakening, which is also his first tie-in fiction. Infinity Blade is a video game that is one of the best-selling games on the iPad. I've played it quite a bit and though it is repetitive it does have gorgeous graphics and an interesting story line to start.  Sanderson's novella is supposed to bridge the first game and the sequel that will be coming out later this year. Sanderson wrote a long blog explain the reasons he agreed to the project:
This story was just plain FUN to write. I had a blast with it, and it turned out quite well. I got to play with the idea of blending entertainment media—the story is for sale in-game, and together with the game, blends storytelling with gameplay. I think our world is going to change in interesting ways as books, video games, and cinema meld together.

So, this story hit a sweet spot for me. I got creative freedom, the ability to work with fun people, a chance to work with some interesting limitations, a chance to dip my toes into video games (they also let me do a draft on the script for the second game), and a chance to play with transmedia.

...this story is intended to be accessible to all—but that said, it does rely a lot on things that happened in the first game while throwing balls up into the air for the second game to catch. (That was part of the challenge.) Much like THE ALLOY OF LAW, it is not intended to be the end-all of my career, but rather is me exploring new types of writing and trying to have fun along the way.
Also, Sanderson is amping up his short story output saying:
You'll see me releasing a handful of short fiction pieces over the next year. I've got some in anthologies, others I'm preparing to do directly as electronic downloads, and then a few other very special pieces.
So it looks like we'll be plenty more of Sanderson to tide us over between his Epic-sized novels.

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New Procurements

Books, I like them. The last two weeks have seen an infusion of Steampunk books as it is that time of year. Unfortunately, I won't be repeating my Steampunk month this year as I'm still preoccupied by projects at work and fixing up my house, but do check out that link if you're new around here as there were loads of great guest articles and a few good reviews. The end is in sight on my home retrofit so hopefully I'll get back to blogging more regularly very, very soon. Now to get on with it starting with my purchases followed by review copies sent me.


The Cold Commands by Richard K. Morgan is one of the more anticipated books in the Fantasy community this year, especially given it was delayed.  Hellbent is Cherie Priest's second book in her Vampire Urban Fantasy series and the first book Bloodshot was quite funny and action packed so I'm defintely back for more.  Bibliotopia by Steven Gibar is a list book of facts regarding books to add to my collection of books about books. Goliath is Westerfeld's final volume in his much loved Steampunk series adorned with beautiful art throughout the book. Last is the most buzzed out debut of the year The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern, which by all accounts lives up to the buzz. I might have to fight over this one with my wife as she's been waiting it as well.


Ganymede is the third full length novel in Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century world that I've been loving and loving so far. Plus this volume takes place in my favorite city New Orleans. Zombies and beignets anyone? Next is the finished copy of Lev AC Rosen's All Men of Genius, which I've been enjoying recently in arc form. Than the last Steampunk release of this batch is George Mann's third Newbury & Hobbes investigation The Immortality Engine. Laddertop is Orson Scott Card's first in a new Sci-Fi manga series, which seems to borrow heavily from Ender's Game, which  means it might actually bode-well for the book.  Thawed Out & Fed Up by Ryan Brown looks like a strange as it stars a cryogenically unfrozen John Wayne.  Planesrunner is Ian McDonald's YA debut and one I'll be diving into quite soon.  The Restoration Game by Ian Macleod   is a video game spy-type story that I definitely plan on reading.  Lastly is Steampunk the YA anthology of original stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant with stories by Link, Libba Bray, Holly Black, Garth Nix, Cory Doctorow, and many others.  Bray and Nix were enough to get be interested.


Dead Mann Walking by Stefan Petrucha is a story about a man convicted and put to death for the murder of his wife only to be exonerated and brought back as a zombie.  Next we have volumes 1, 3, and 4 in Lois McMaster Bujold's The Sharing Knife series.  I've never tried Bujold's books before so if any of you have chime in and let me know what you think.  Lastly, Black Light is written by two of the writers of the last few Saw movies. I'm not a fan of the franchise, but the story has been called a bloody version of Ghostbusters so I just may have to take a gander when I'm in the mood for some scariness.

Out of all these there are about 10 I wish I had time to read right now, but to narrow it down a bit Ganymede, Planesrunner, and The Night Circus will most definitely be read in the next few weeks.

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