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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

MINI REVIEW | Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Where to start with the latest Dresden Files? The 14th in fact. This is one of the longest series I've ever stuck with. The total word output from other series I read might be longer, but this is definitely the longest number of volumes. 14 books is quite an amazing accomplishment and the fact that most are better than good is astounding.

I had quite a few quibbles with the last volume, Ghost Story (reviewed here), so I started Cold Days with lowered expectations that it more than surpassed them bringing Harry back to form and thrown into the thick of all things paranormal. So my greatest fears that the series was ruined for me are unfounded at this point.

Dresden awakens inside Faerie's Winter Court with new powers and new debts that must be paid. Summer Knight was the volume that made me love the series since it broadened the Dresdenverse so much and Cold Days explores the politics and inhabitants of Faerie deeper than ever before. We see Mab in all her crazy glory along with nearly every other important figure including many unexpected personages of a magical persuasion. And when Harry is given a seemingly impossible task from Mab, of course, he gets drawn into even greater problems and old grudges back in the real world.

Harry has always been thought of a strong power in the past, but this supercharged version would have stomped on the young Dresden. There is still a heavy reliance on past associates including some that might have been better left out, but outside of that the action and detective work was incredible. Harry's magical island, Demonreach is vividly explored with many of its secrets finally unveiled. Cold Days more than most any other volume has payoff and reveals galore for long-term series fans. Many of the dots that have been tossed Harry's way over the length of the series are connected to great effect and seemingly disparate cases finally make sense.

So if you're still hanging in there for the series, which I expect most are, Cold Days brings the series back to a nice high with plenty of laughs and things are on track for plenty more action.

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New Procurements

Due to travel and the hurricane I'm a bit behind with updating. My house is fine, but we were without power for over a week, which definitely put a damper on things technologically speaking though I was complaining losts on twitter as my phone was my only outlet. This batch is from the last few weeks with the first stack from Uncle Hugos or as I call it Sci-Fi Book Nerd Mecca, while I was off on a work trip in Minnesota. I'd love to go back to Hugos to do a lot more damage.


I read the first of David Brin's Uplift trilogy for the first time while in Minnesota so I, of course had to pick up the next volume Startide Rising. The copy of Snodgrass's The Edge of Reason is signed. And after much hemming and hawing along with the the award wins I finally picked up Walton's Among Others. I had been meaning to get The Imago Sequence for awhile now as well. This Book is Full of Spiders is David Wong's sequel to the very enjoyable John Dies at the End. In the next picture is Rapture by Kameron Hurley which I also bought at Hugos though it turns out another copy was waiting for me at home. I already gobbled it up as I couldn't hold back and Hurley closed Nyx's story superbly.


Now on to the review copies. Yep, that is the next Dresden Files, Cold Days, sitting at the top. Given the problems I had with Ghost Story I'm not rushing to this as quickly as I would have in the past, but I will probably read it over my upcoming Thanksgiving break. Fingers crossed that I'll fall in love with it again, but I'm trying not to get my hopes too high.  Priest's The Inexplicables is one that I'll be reading very soon though. The Red Knight is Mile Cameron's debut coming out in January that's being pitched as a gritty Fantasy, so you know I've got to try that out. The Best of Joe Haldeman should be a nice career retrospective collection if I can find the time. This year hasn't been the best for me in regards to reading short fiction except for some novellas. Speaking of novellas, I Travel by Night by Robert McCammon looks like fun what with a vampire adventurer placed in the 19th century. Definitely might try to squeeze that one in.


I received Valente and Hobbs' latest novellas coming from Sub Press next year. Six-Gun Snow White looks especially promising. The white one, which is difficult to read is A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, which is one of the books I've most been looking forward to for 2012. Still love that cover. Diverse Energies edited by Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti contains stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Ken Liu, and Daniel H. Wilson among many others with a focus on YA appropriate culturally diverse Sci-Fi stories. Swords of Waar is Nathan Long's second Jane Carver book, which I still want to get to. Krampus would be my first Brom book, but it looks like a fun and holiday appropriate one to start with what with Krampus taking his revenge on Santa and all. Death's Apprentice is by K. W. Jeter and Gareth Jefferson Jones, which combines Grimm style fair tales with a noir detective bent.

Quantum Coin is Myers' sequel to Fair Coin, which I never bought, but it is on my long list as I've heard good things. London Eye by Tim Lebbon is the first in his YA trilogy of post-apocalyptic stories featuring mutants with powers of one stripe or another. I've always had a thing for thieves and forgeries so The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro might find itself in my hands soon.

So quite a pile to wade through... Should be fun doing it.

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Winner of the Earthsea Cycle


The winner of the complete Earthsea cycles is Ben from Atlanta. I hope he or whoever he gives them to will get as much enjoyment out of them as I have.



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INTERVIEW | John Brownjohn on Walter Moers and Translation

Walter Moers' Zamonia novels are some of the most creative humorous Fantasy I have ever read. Yes, even better than some of Terry Pratchett's work. Moers is also one of the biggest authors in Germany, but in the English speaking world he has more of a cult following. To date there have been four Zamonia novels published with the fifth The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books coming out November 8th. I'd recommend on checking out the first book in the series, The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear first or The City of Dreaming Books, not to be confused with the latest Labyrinth. Though all except Labyrinth standalone quite well

Today joining us is a very special guest. I'm use to interviewing authors and editors, but this is a first for me with translator John Brownjohn sitting in the hot seat.


Mad Hatter: You've translated many books of all genres (History, Biography, Fantasy) including the classic The Neverending Story. How did you get involved in translation?

John Brownjohn: In an age when translation has become an academic subject in its own right, I hesitate to admit this after translating the better part of 200 books from German and French, but I came into the trade quite fortuitously. I started life as a classicist and won an open classical scholarship to Oxford, then spent ten years in a commercial job in the City of London. Around halfway through those ten lucrative but uncongenial years, a cousin of mine who happened to be a director of the venerable publishing house of Jonathan Cape said to me, “You write decent English and have a knowledge of German and French, how about trying your hand at translating a book for us on the side?” The book was a juvenile novel for which I earned the princely sum of £70.00. I enjoyed the challenge, Jonathan Cape liked what I’d done, and one thing led to another until I was being offered so much translation work by several publishers that I chucked my City job and have devoted myself to the keyboard ever since. Incidental note: I didn’t translate Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story, though I did do his Momo.

MH: The internet led me astry yet again. How does the translation process work for you? Are you generally in contact with the author? Do you go through multiple drafts? Are you approached by publishers about translating or do you try to pitch them?

JBJ: It varies from author to author. I’m regularly in touch with Walter Moers, for example, but my only contact with the onetime bestselling author Hans Helmut Kirst, sixteen of whose novels I translated including Night of the Generals, was a brief letter from him thanking me for my efforts. (Dead authors can present a problem. I once caught one out in a bad bit of continuity. Being naturally unable to contact him, I corrected it on the assumption that he’d have been grateful!) No, I don’t make multiple drafts. I compose my translations as I go, then print out my drafts and give them a final polish before delivery. I have to read and correct everything in hard copy - can’t assess what I’ve done solely on the screen. As to sources of work, the first move always comes from my publishers. I’ve tried to pitch books but never succeeded.


MH: Were you aware of Walter Moers’s work before you were asked to translate The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Blue Bear?

JBJ: Yes, but only of his work as a cartoonist.


MH: The Zamonia books are quite wacky and strange. There are literally hundreds of made-up words, names, and anagrams galore. How did you handle it all?

JBJ: Producing English versions of Walter’s made-up names certainly taxes one’s ingenuity. Sometimes I have to diverge completely from the original German. Elsewhere I often draw on the remnants of my classical education and resort to Latinizing bits of them. For instance, the “Living Books” in German became the “Animatomes” in English. As for the anagrams, which are great fun to do, I took Walter’s advice and got out my old Scrabble set, which proved a great help!

MH: Did the illustrations ever come in handy while translating?

JBJ: Yes, they’ve often provided me with an insight into the author’s wealth of imagination.

MH: Will we ever see Moers' Hansel and Gretel novel in English? Also, do you know the status of the next Zamonia book given The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books ends on quite a cliffhanger note?

JBJ: Unfortunately, I don’t think his Hansel and Gretel book lends itself to translation into English. The sequel to The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books is already taking shape..

MH: Is there a book or series you'd love to see translate into English?

JBJ: No, I don’t have anything special in mind.

MH: Why do you think in other languages about half of the published books are translated from English, but the percentage of books translated into English is less than 10%?

JBJ: Sadly, if it’s a toss-up between two books of roughly equal merit, one of them written in English and the other in some foreign language, US and UK publishers will ten to go for the former. This is partly because translation fees represent a not inconsiderable part of the production costs, and it’s possible (I don’t know) that British and American translators are better paid than their European counterparts. I suspect there is also, even now, a hangover from the days when a lot of very poor translations appeared after World War II, often done by European expatriates whose command of idiomatic English was less than adequate. This created a prejudice against translated works in general. My own “philosophy” - though some would disagree - is that a translation should read as if it were an original. After all, readers who are continually brought up short by unidiomatic turns of phrase will soon lay a book aside in disgust.

MH: What projects are you translating at the moment? 

JBJ: I’m taking a few weeks off while awaiting the imminent arrival of another two new German novels by existing authors of mine, Alex Capus (Leon and Louise) and Alain Claude Sulzer (A Perfect Waiter).

MH: You're certainly keeping busy. Thank you for all your time. Is there anything you'd like to say to close us out?

JBJ: Yes, I’d like to thank all the US publishers and reviewers who never fail to mention the names and appreciate the efforts of those who render foreign literature accessible, i.e. translators. The same cannot, alas, be said of UK reviewers and literary editors, whose neglect of us is shameful.

MH: Thanks for making it possible to read so many foreign works.


You can catch-up with the whole Walter Moers Blog Tour at these fine establishments:
Thursday, Nov 1 - Introduction to the Blog Tour - BookSexy Review
Friday, Nov 2 - Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews will post an Overview/Presentation of Moers’ Books
Saturday, Nov 3 - TNBBC will post a review of The City of Dreaming Books
Sunday, Nov 4 - BookSexy Review will post a Travel/Tour Guide to Bookholm
Monday, Nov 5 - SJ @ Book Snobbery will post a fan letter to Optimus Yarnspinner
Tuesday, Nov 6 - Anastasia at Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog will post a review of The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books
Thursday, Nov 8 - Theresa will pot the giveaway at the Winged Elephant blog (Overlook's Blog)

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On Retiring One’s Bloody Beloved Characters by Kameron Hurley

On Retiring One’s Bloody Beloved Characters

by Kameron Hurley, author of the Bel Dame Apocrypha


I’ve written all sorts of characters over the years, but Nyxnissa so Dasheem and her band of hired rogues are the first I took across a full published trilogy. Nyx herself was an amalgamation of some of my favorite trash-talking, whiskey-slinging, 80’s apocalypse heroes. I first conceived of her after playing the part of Banquo in MacBeth in my high school drama class, which my theater teacher had set in a post-apocalyptic gender-swapping England that let me carry a whip and a sword and walk the stage covered in mint-flavored fake blood and chocolate sauce every night.

Gender-swapping all those bloody feuding lords was a lot of fun, and I started to wonder if I could write a heroine as scary as some of the ones we brought to life on stage.

Hard-ass Banquo and her fellow bloody women feudal lords became Nalah, the desert weary heroine in a short story I wrote at Clarion in 2000. I tasked Nalah with murdering her son, Eshe, at the whim of the foreign lord she served. There was blood and sand and matriarchies… but it wasn’t enough to carry a story. It needed something more.

That was really the trouble with my trash-talking apocalypse heroine – I just didn’t have a really good understanding of who she was, because I didn’t have a good handle on the type of world that would produce her. It wasn't until 2004 or 2005, when I scribbled down the line, “Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert,” that I realized I was onto something.

What kind of person sells their womb? Why? What kind of world is that?

Writing God’s War was a process of discovery for me. The world and the people in it came into clearer focus as I wrote. It wasn’t until I’d nearly finished the first draft of God’s War that I realized I wasn’t writing about a particularly nice or heroic or honorable person. Putting Nyx into the world I did, and having her survive (if not thrive) in it meant I was actually writing about a borderline psychopath. But she was a relentless, single-minded sort of psychopath who cared just enough about a few things to keep her interesting, and I found myself sympathizing with her despite myself.

Who would each of us be, if we came of age in the same world, with the same experiences? Would you act any better, and live to tell about it?

Only Nyx would say something like, “Can we fuck about it later?” and “The cunt is not the heart.” Her dialogue always flowed fast and sharp when I wrote it, and often surprised me with its brutal honestly and needling malice. She was emotionally stunted and abusive. But she was very good at killing, and never pretended to be anything she was not.

There are many characters I got to know well while writing the Bel Dame Apocrypha – Rhys the terrible magician with the conflicted moral compass; Khos the big-hearted puppy with his desperate desire for a family; self-hating Inaya and poor little lost Eshe… but as I wrote the concluding scenes of Rapture, the final book in the trilogy, I knew it was whiskey-drinking, trash-talking, self-destructive Nyx I was going to miss the most. There was just nobody quite like her, and try as I might, I couldn’t think of another world that would spawn somebody exactly like her.

This was her world, her story, and it was done. And as freeing as it felt to have her take her last drink… it was a bittersweet sort of drink, because I knew she’d never take another one. Not with me, at any rate.

I hope to return to the world of Umayma in the future, but to be honest – it’s not so much Nyx’s world anymore. That’s the reality of writing a fantasy world that’s dynamic and not static. The world that created Nyx has changed during the decades in which the books take place. The world has moved on. So has Nyx. Now it’s somebody else’s world, and I look forward to telling their stories as passionately and crazily as I told hers.

But it won’t ever be quite the same.

***

Kameron Hurley is an award-winning, Nebula nominated writer currently hacking out a living as a marketing and advertising writer. She’s lived in Fairbanks, Alaska; Durban, South Africa; and Chicago, but grew up in and around Washington State. Her personal and professional exploits have taken her all around the world. She spent much of her roaring 20′s traveling, pretending to learn how to box, and trying not to die spectacularly. Hurley is author of the of the Bel Dame Apocrypha consisting of God's War, Infidel, and the just released Rapture.

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FREE FICTION | Kameron Hurley's God's War and Infidel


In celebration (and promotion of course) of the final novel in Kameron Hurley's genre bending and genre redefining Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy, Rapture, Night Shade Books is giving away eBook versions of the first two novels God's War and Infidel. So now is your chance to get in with this multi-award nominated series. I thought quite highly of the first two books as well and just finished Rapture myself and it certainly closes things on a high bloody note.

Don't believe the hype? Find out FREE for yourself. Just send an email to Beldamegiveaway@nightshadebooks.com. Night Shade will return fire with an email giving you the info you need to download the files for God's War and Infidel. Both Epub and Mobi files are available.

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The 2011 Hattie Awards!!! Or the Best of 2011 (That I've Read)