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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


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

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

REVIEW | Low Town by Daniel Polansky

Note this book is being published as Low Town in the US and as The Straight Razor Cure in the UK.

Low Town is Polansky's debut, but it certainly doesn't feel like it as it's a very self assured first effort. The setting is a Fantasy world, but one not as backward as we are used to. It is actually more of an Urban Fantasy as most of the action takes place in a city, which definitely gave it a very gritty feel as we meet all kinds of ruffians, gangsters, drug dealers, dark wizards, and other unsavory types.

The Fantasy actually comes off secondary to the Noir feel with the first person POV and the dark nature of the characters. In fact this isn't even your usual Fantasy city. It is a world that is on the cusp of advancement as there is talk of explosives and other innovations here and there. Though the city is also dependent on magic for protection from a plague that ravaged the area the generation prior.

The protagonist affectionately called The Warden is a disgraced ex-secret police officer turned drugged dealer. After a murder of a child in Low Town The Warden can't turn away from the case that leads him to what looks like a conspiracy of magic and also his past in the great war. Things quickly escalate as The Warden searches for the culprit and is tossed from groups on both side of the law. He plays all the groups quite well surprising even himself.

If you don't like drug use in your stories than don't touch Low Town. The Warden is an addict himself although he wouldn't admit it, but he is probably not as bad as his customers. The characterization of The Warden is quite strong so the drug use and distribution feels natural for him however abhorrent it may be. He isn't peddling light weight drugs most of the time. He lives a hard life full of dangers he mostly brings upon himself.  He also lives above a tavern so he is seen knocking back quite a few as the story progresses.

Per its Noir sensibilities there are lots of twists and fake-outs, but the big reveal was foreshadowed a bit too heavily for me. It was only a slight comment, but from that point I knew pretty much where the story would go. The story also didn't go as deep as I was hoping exploring more of the characters, but it was a fun adventure getting to the end. And The Warden has a fantastic perspective.

Fans of Alex Bledsoe's Eddie LaCrosse and Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels would certainly enjoy Low Town, but for Noir lovers you've found your new favorite series. I do worry Low Town isn't magical enough for avid Fantasy readers expecting more, but it is a rough and tumble novel that keeps a quick pace and never loses its edge. I give Low Town/The Straight Razor Cure 8 out of 10 hats. I'll definitely be back for more as this looks to be a long running series yet Low Town stands alone quite well all its own. Low Town/The Straight Razor Cure will be released this August on both sides of the pond.

And always remember: What happens in Low Town stays in Low Town.

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Cover & Table of Contents Unveiled for The Book of Cthulhu ed. by Ross E. Lockhart

Art by Obrotowy. Design by Claudia Noble.
Cthulhu is coming.

Well to be more precise coming this September is The Book of Cthulhu from first time anthologist Ross E. Lockhart attempting to collect some of the best modern fiction related to H.P. Lovecraft's creation. The cover art  by Obrotowy is perfect for the collection with a depiction of Cthulhu right out of Lovecraft's head and a superb type treatment.  Here is the blurb to get us going:
Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fhtagn!

First described by visionary author H. P. Lovecraft, the Cthulhu mythos encompass a pantheon of truly existential cosmic horror: Eldritch, uncaring, alien god-things, beyond mankind's deepest imaginings, drawing ever nearer, insatiably hungry, until one day, when the stars are right....

As that dread day, hinted at within the moldering pages of the fabled Necronomicon, draws nigh, tales of the Great Old Ones: Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Hastur, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, and the weird cults that worship them have cross-pollinated, drawing authors and other dreamers to imagine the strange dark aeons ahead, when the dead-but-dreaming gods return.

Now, intrepid anthologist Ross E. Lockhart has delved deep into the Cthulhu canon, selecting from myriad mind-wracking tomes the best sanity-shattering stories of cosmic terror. Featuring fiction by many of today's masters of the menacing, macabre, and monstrous, The Book of Cthulhu goes where no collection of Cthulhu mythos tales has before: to the very edge of madness... and beyond!

Do you dare open The Book of Cthulhu? Do you dare heed the call?
The Book of Cthulhu was originally slated to be edited by John Joseph Adams, but he left the project early on with Lockhart taking over as he is Night Shade's Managing Editor. Lockhart has also helped with many of the anthologies they have done over the years. It looks like Lockhart has put together a stellar group of stories as this table of content clearly shows:.

Caitlin R. Kiernan - Andromeda among the Stones
Ramsey Campbell - The Tugging
Charles Stross - A Colder War
Bruce Sterling - The Unthinkable
Silvia Moreno-Garcia - Flash Frame
W. H. Pugmire - Some Buried Memory
Molly Tanzer - The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins
Michael Shea - Fat Face
Elizabeth Bear - Shoggoths in Bloom
T. E. D. Klein - Black Man With A Horn
David Drake - Than Curse the Darkness
Charles R. Saunders - Jeroboam Henley's Debt
Thomas Ligotti - Nethescurial
Kage Baker - Calamari Curls
Edward Morris - Jihad over Innsmouth
Cherie Priest - Bad Sushi
John Hornor Jacobs - The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife
Brian McNaughton - The Doom that Came to Innsmouth
Ann K. Schwader - Lost Stars
Steve Duffy - The Oram County Whoosit
Joe R. Lansdale - The Crawling Sky
Brian Lumley - The Fairground Horror
Tim Pratt - Cinderlands
Gene Wolfe - Lord of the Land
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. - To Live and Die in Arkham
John Langan - The Shallows
Laird Barron - The Men from Porlock

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INTERVIEW | Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves

Douglas Hulick is a new name in the world of Fantasy. Although he has been hacking away at his keyboard for a decade to bring Among Thieves to fruition and it is only the start to a series. Among Thieves is one of those books that literally blew me away with its complexity and nailed that X factor that makes it an unbelievably fun read in what is my favorite Fantasy debut of the year.

MH: Thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a little about yourself to get us going?

DH: Thanks for having me.

What to tell? I've wanted to be a writer since I was 12 years old. I read The Hobbit and said, "Yup, this is it: this is what I want to do." Of course, being 12, it was easy to say; it was much harder to do.

I've been fortunate in that I've either had, or sought out, jobs over the years that allowed me to write on the side. When you only have to be in class four hours a day in graduate school, or your shift doesn't start until 4:00 PM at the bar, or your wife is crazy enough to let you stay home with the kids so you can write during their naps, you're able to hold that dream in front of you a bit easier. That doesn't mean it gets easier to achieve, of course, but you have a harder time saying you don't have time, or what have you.

Now, ironically, it's a bit harder to find that time, but I don't have much of a choice: I'm a published author with books to write. But I'm also still a stay-at-home dad with two older kids who have very divergent schedules (one of whom is special needs, and so requires more direct supervision), a wife, and all the other things that come with middle-life. Plus, now that I'm on contract, I have an actual deadline for my books. Before, I could work on them as I pleased; but now? Let's just say I'm learning how to be a writer all over again, only in a different way. It's exciting, exhausting, and fascinating all at once.

MH: Certainly sounds like your plate is full.  Among Thieves is quite an intricate novel with all the twists, turns, and reveals. Did you ever find yourself lost in the plotting of it all?

DH: Oh, hell yes.

The novel was largely organic in its construction. It took me over ten years to write, with a couple of purposefully fallow years (we moved twice, had two sons, my wife started a new career, I switched jobs a few times--all of which can demand more immediate attention than a book), and I'm not about to pretend that I followed any kind of detailed outline during that entire time.

Mind you, I knew where the book was going in terms of the two main plot lines, but that didn't always help during the day-to-day, page-to-page writing. There were plenty of times where I knew what needed to happen, but wasn't sure how I was going to accomplish it. Other times, when I found myself just staring at the page, I found myself turning Raymond Chandler's old adage: "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand" (or, in my case, a sword or a bit of dangerous magic). Likewise, since so many of the actions in the book are instigated by various characters, be they on or off screen, I had to not only know their motivations, but make sure those motivations fit with the person instigating them. It's easy to say, "There needs to be a plot twist/revelation/key development here," but it's another thing for that action to make logical and emotional sense for the person performing it. A character can't do something just because it makes sense for the story; it has to make sense for them, too. And characters don't always develop like you expect them to....

Where Among Thieves really came together was in the revisions. I was ruthless. Since this was my first novel, I had let myself throw everything I could think of into the first draft: characters, world-building, plot name it. It was very "kitchen sink" writing. Then I went back through and took a machete to the manuscript. I changed and cut and revised, throwing away some parts of the story, layering in others, and writing whole new swaths as necessary. I was very fortunate to have both a great group of first-readers -- my writer's group, the Wyrdsmiths -- and a keen-eyed stable of beta readers to go over everything, which helped the process an enormous amount.

Was I lost? More often than I can likely remember. But I just kept at it.

MH: During my reading of Among Thieves my head was left spinning a few times as my brain started connecting all the threads, but in the end I never felt lost because of the complexity. Nearly everything made perfect sense. Now characterization is another strong part. Was there ever a point where you tried to make Drothe a nicer guy or even more of a backstabber?

DH: It was an interesting challenge trying to balance Drothe. Here's a character who, the first time you meet him, is overseeing the torture and interrogation of a former business associate; and yet, as a writer, I need to make him sympathetic enough that the reader will want to follow him through an entire book. That's not exactly an easy sell, and I know there are some readers who said they had a hard time getting past the first couple of chapters and giving him a chance; a few never did. But I knew that was going to be the case going in. In a way, I suppose it was a challenge I set myself: how can I start out with a protagonist who is clearly not a nice person, and still get the reader to invest enough to go along for the ride?

The first person viewpoint was critical for that, I think. You get a window into not only what Drothe is doing, but why he's doing it--a view into the world he functions within and the expectations and mores that apply to the Kin. Being with him in his head, you learn more quickly and distinctly what the rules are and the reasons behind his actions. It doesn't excuse all of them, of course, but knowing why makes it easier for the reader, if not to forgive, then at least to understand and root for the character. (That isn't to say this couldn't be done in a third person POV, either; but first worked better for me.)

One paradigm I tried to riff off of was Raymond Chandler's view of what a detective hero should be. In his essay, "The Simple Art of Murder", Chandler says, among other things, "...down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid....a man of honor--by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world." Now, Drothe clearly isn't untarnished, and his sense of honor could be arguable in another context; nor is he the best man in his world; and he certainly can be mean. He isn't a true hero in Chandler's vein; but he isn't meant to be, either. At best, he's an anti-hero, and as such, he should be flawed. And so he is. But among the Kin? Among the Kin, I'd argue Drothe is one of the least flawed: he is less tarnished, less afraid, less mean than most of those he rubs elbows with. Yes, he still stumbles and falls and errs, but by and large, it is for reasons that his fellow Kin might not spare a second though about. Is that good enough to make him an honorable hero in his dark corner of the world? That depends on how you see him and judge his actions; but I can tell you that as I was writing, I would often stop and ask myself how Drothe's actions and decisions compared to the actions of the rest of the Kin--if the path he took made him "better" than the next guy down the alley with a knife in his hand. That may not be the highest moral bar for a character to aspire to, but given the context of the story and the history of the character, it was the bar that fit.

I say all this because it helps explain why it wasn't a question of simply making Drothe nicer or nastier overall; it was a matter of comparing and judging him in relation to the criminals who inhabited the world around him. With that in mind, I think he was probably nicer than many of the characters he crossed paths with, but was also as nasty as he needed to be to be effective. The scale was just different.

MH: Darker characters or what is becoming known as gritty, grey, and ambiguous characters have been on the rise in Fantasy the last decade. When you were growing up what characters in Fantasy were you interested in? More of the reluctant yet born hero Aragon? Or someone who wants to do good, but isn't above doing a bit of evil to get their way?

DH: You know, I loved Aragon when he was Strider, but started to lose interest in him shortly after he revealed himself as the heir of Isildur and got less ranger-y. I think that says a lot right there, don't you?

When I was first getting into fantasy, I didn't much worry about the story arc of the hero: Chosen One, reluctant hero, blood-spattered barbarian, bumbling farm boy destined to win the crown & get the girl--I didn't care. I was just devouring it all as fast as I could. I ran through Tolkien and Brooks and White and whatever else I could get my hands on. It was all new to me, so I didn't much pay attention, other than I liked this stuff.

Looking back, though, I think there were a couple of series that changed things for me. One was the Robert E. Howard/L. Sprague de Camp "Conan" series. No elves, no orcs, and all the magic was dark and evil. That showed me a different side of fantasy; one where very few characters had noble aims, and where the final solution often came at the end of a broad sword. After that came Stephen R. Donaldson's original Thomas Covenant trilogy. Talk about a whiney, useless, morally deplorable bastard of a character! You were almost rooting for Lord Foul to kill him; but (and this is important), Donaldson redeemed the story so that I almost cheered at the end. That series gave my first real taste of an anti-hero, and while I'm not a fan of the series today, at the time it was a seminal work for my awareness of character. Lastly, I remember becoming heavily invested in Robert Lynn Asprin's shared world series, "Thieves' World." (Big surprise, right?) Not only were the stories fun, but because you had a large stable of writers (and characters), you got to see a wide swath of, if not the world, then at least the city. More than that, though, while a number of the POV characters were thieves, you also had magicians, mercenaries, artists--a whole range of people whose lives were effected by the actions of other characters. It wasn't just a group of heroes and helpers going on a quest or trying to fulfill a destiny; it was people. Things got messy, purposes got crossed, and people's lives got screwed up based on what happened in another story line.

After that, I found myself gravitating to the shadier side of fantasy. Oh, I still read "brighter" fare (for lack of a better term), but I knew that when I found David Eddings's Belgariad series too light for my tastes (despite innumerable recommendations from people I trusted), I'd turned a corner. Now, while I don't stick wholly to dark or gritty, I find I do tend to prefer my heroes a bit more conflicted and my worlds less full of happy magic than I once might have.

MH: I'm right there with you. The lighter stuff just doesn't stick in my mind as well or keep me as rapt as a book with characters teetering over the line between good, bad, and indifferent. Is there a particular favorite scene in Among Thieves that you love or that was a particular torture to write?

DH: You have to remember that I wrote Among Thieves over the course of a decade, sometimes taking as much as a year and a half off at one point when we had our second son. In some ways, I think one of the hardest things was to keep stepping away and coming back to work on it, over and over. It's a complicated (or at least convoluted) book, and I wrote it that way on purpose. I'd always had trouble plotting up to that point, and so I set myself the challenge of trying to come up with a book that would not only keep the reader on his toes, be keep me on mine as well.

What helped is that there is a rhythm to the book, in that there were two distinct storylines that eventually had to meld together in the end. That meant that even if I was pulling teeth trying to get one thing down, I knew that I could switch back over to the other plot in a chapter or two. That didn't mean the other plot would be any easier to write, of course, but it let me fool myself into thinking it might be.

As for a favorite passage I had while writing: that has to be where Lyria makes her first appearance, when she comes running out of the rain in the Barren to take on Drothe and Degan. The imagery in that scene just fell onto the page right when I wrote it. I got done with it and sat back and smiled, because I knew it worked--it, and she, felt right. A lot of things got tweaked or changed or adjusted in the various drafts of the book, but that passage was never touched. What's in the novel is what I typed the first time she appeared.

MH: As of right now Among Thieves is the first in a trilogy. Anything you can tell us about the second book? Such as a title or release date? Or any short stories in the works? It seems like the world of the Kin is rich enough for some shorts.

DH: The title for the second book is Sworn in Steel. We're looking at an April 2012 release date, but the book has been giving me a bit of trouble, and I'm running late. So, fingers crossed for the date, but no absolute promises at the time of this writing. Check back on my web site for updates.

Naturally, I don't want to give a lot away. I will say that part of the story deals with Drothe facing the consequences of his actions from the first book, on a couple of levels. He's in a different place, both personally and professionally, than he was in Among Thieves, which means he has to re-evaluate his place in the world, even as other people are busy trying to redefine it for him. He's not just a criminal working the street any more, and as much as he may not necessarily like that, he still needs to accept it. Change isn't easy, especially when there are knives and alleys and murderers involved; but it can be fun (well, at least for the reader, I hope).

I've never been a big short story writer. My entire omnibus of professionally published short stories consists of one short-short from something like 1991, and a couple of semi-pro RPG tie-in stories that were commissioned when I was still freelancing (briefly) in that industry.

I love short stories, but I think part of me is intimidated by them. When I read a really great short story, I'm all, "Wow, that's fantastic. How did they do that?" And I can break it down in terms of pacing and arc and character, I can see how it all comes together, but knowing and doing are two different things. My mind doesn't seem to work that way, or at least, not naturally. That doesn't mean I couldn't try to train myself to do that, of course. I don't think the short form is some sort of mystical land where you either know the secret password or you don't; but I also don't have the time (or the patience) at this point to try and fail enough times to turn out short fiction I'd be comfortable with in terms of quality. I'm a slow writer, and when you have novels contracted and waiting to be written, even a couple of weeks can make a difference. (I'm also a perfectionist in some ways, and especially in the case of short stories, I can see that getting in the way for me.)

All that said, there are other aspects of the world I would love to play with that might be better served in the shorter form. I'd love to look at Ildrecca through the eyes of the other side of the coin--say, with a Red Sash/Rag or someone associated with the empire in an official capacity. And there are wide swaths of the world that Drothe doesn't even talk about: Bronze Degan's homeland, which is a client-kingdom of the Empire itself, for example. So, yes, despite my protestations, there may be some short stories in me somewhere, but I have no idea if or when I might put them down on paper at this point.

MH: To go along with my other obsession what is your favorite type of hat?

DH: I prefer a snap-brim fedora with at least a two and a half inch finished/bound brim. I'm fairly flexible on the crown configuration, as long as the front is dimpled. Wool felt is fine, but fur felt is better. (And no, I didn't research this answer on the web: I'm just this picky about my lids.)

MH: I love a man who knows his hats.  I'm big on the fedora as well.  The trilby style though is a more recent favorite. What are two things most people don't know about you? Do you secretly hide away bottle caps or have a pet monkey?

DH: The monkey took off with the bottle caps years ago, so that's out. And you already covered the hat thing....

Thing 1: I'm a big fan of cooking shows, and do most of the cooking for our house. I've been known to yell at the TV during "Top Chef" (a competitive cooking show on Bravo) and "Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares" (a wonderful expletive-laden show featuring Gordon Ramsey trying to save restaurateurs from themselves). I'm a glutton for BBQ, regional fare, and good seafood. I'm also a bit of a beer snob (but drink Miller, too, so there). My wife was diagnosed with Celiac disease a couple years ago, so I've been learning to bake and cook gluten-free as well since then.

Thing 2: I have a pair of parakeets that keep me company in my office. One, Hawkwood, is named after a 14th century English mercenary captain who made his fortune in Italy; the other is named after a minor literary figure you may or may not heard of, called "Sherlock." I forget the name of the author behind that character, though....

MH: If you're a beer snob than give something called Innis & Gunn a try. It is oak-aged which gives it a lot of unique flavors.

Thanks for all your time. Is there anything you'd like to add to close us out?

DH: Only that I've really enjoyed this interview, and that if people want to check in with me, the can go to my web site at I don't blog as much as I like, but you can find links there to my Twitter feed as well as my Facbook page, which I am better about keeping on top of.

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Art by Rahzzah
I'd go see this movie. How about you?

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My Evening with Neil Gaiman

Last night I went to Neil Gaiman's first event on his American Gods, 10th Anniversary edition tour at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. Lev Grossman was the interviewer for the night and he did a splendid job directing a conversation that went off into many tangents. Very interesting tangents though. The interview last over an hour and a half and if you get the chance do go see Neil speak.

Outside the event was The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, which is the official ice cream truck for the American Gods tour. Already a big crowd was gathered. Quite a varied crowd with Goths, punks, comic nerds, and the more unassuming folk as well, which is a testament to Neil that he can bring such a diverse cacophony of people together. While in line for ice cream (you know I couldn't pass it up) I spotted Neil saying hello to the owner of the truck and than he quickly went inside to gird himself for the evening.

captionBig Gay Ice Cream had two special flavors for the event that everyone was clamoring for. I went with the very delicious American Globs which was vanilla ice cream with sourdough pretzel on top and than dipped in chocolate with a bit of sea salt sprinkled on top. Yes, ladies and gentlemen I can attest it was certainly an epically good tasting ice cream cone. The other flavor du jour was Loki Lime Pie, which had key lime curd and graham cracker in it. Either way you went I doubt you'd be disappointed.

By some act of fate from the ticket gods I ended up in the first row just off center from the stage with a perfect view of everything on and even off stage. A couple minutes before the interview started I spied Neil just off stage with his wife Amanda Palmer. A minute later I nearly had Amanda in my lap as she was running in front of me in search of something. I hope she found whatever she was looking for. The house was completely packed with no empty seats and they even opened up the balcony for the event, which apparently they rarely do.


The interview started with Lev Grossman doing a wonderful job introducing Neil. Soon after Neil did a reading from American Gods, which included him doing an American accent. This than turned into Neil doing his impression of a very irate Harlan Ellison, which was quite hilarious.

Loads of interesting facts came out of the interview. First and foremost Neil mentioned that the first season of the HBO adaptation of American Gods will be comprised of the whole of the novel. Given that it has been discussed that there are plans for 6 seasons Neil will be providing a lot more information. The idea that the "Monarch of the Glen" being made part of the series seems likely as well. Plus Neil said there are at least two more stories about Shadow's time in Europe that take place after Monarch and before the events of the planned sequel to American Gods. Neil briefly discussed the shorts and seemed interested in getting to them sooner than later. He also brought up what he calls "The American Gods Sequel Box," which includes Bigfoot, a possible appearance by Jesus, and a tiny town in Florida founded by Spiritualist in the 20s comprised of lots of tarot reading shops. It is apparently a real thing.

A few other interesting facts:

American Gods was never Neil's intended title, but merely a placeholder. He pitched the book while traveling abroad for a few weeks and when he returned the cover had already been publicly released so he decided to stay with it. Also, the first draft of chapter one of American Gods was little changed from the published version, except for the fact it was told in the first person from Shadow's view point. That was a wow moment. To think this story could be told from Shadow's perspective is mind boggling since Shadow is himself such a quite and closed off character. His quietness is what made Neil change the story to third person. The first chapter was actually written on a long train ride to the San Diego Comic Con.

Some of his favorite Gods to write include Chernabog, Anansi, and Eostre.

The idea for American Gods started while in Iceland after a bout of non-setting sun sleep deprivation after seeing a map of Leif Ericson's travels. He pondered whether the Vikings brought their gods with them and thus the seed for American Gods was born. The story was also heavily influenced by Neil's immigrant experience in America plus the "Isn't that Odd" factor such as people parking a car on an iced over lake to see when it would fall through..

In response to an audience question Neil Gaiman proclaimed that we should have no fear of a robot uprising. So there you have it.

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Tim Akers Winners

The winner of the two book prize pack comprised of Heart of Veridon and Dead of Veridon is Jeff Raymond from Millburn, MA. The runner up winner of Dead of Veridon is William Mitchell of Dobson, NC. Thanks again to Solaris for making this possible.

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NEWS | Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards!: A Discworld Boardgame

I found this bit while researching a boardgame I wanted to buy and thought plenty of you would be interested. Guards! Guards! is actually the second Discworld board game after Thud from a 2004, which was more of a chess type game. Here is the info that has been released by Z-Man games so far who are also the awesome makers of Pandemic so I'm expecting good things for this game.

Upcoming - Guards! Guards!, designed by Leonard Boyd and David Brashaw.

Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame is for 2 to 6 players; it can be played in around 2 hours.

The Discworld is the setting for a large collection of books written by author Terry Pratchett. His books have won many awards and sold many millions of copies. Guards! Guards! is a game that seeks to draw the players into the seedy and varied streets of Ankh Morpork, the Discworld's “oldest and greatest and grubbiest of cities”. The many types of volunteers, items, spells and the way players interact throughout the game are all elements that create an atmosphere soaked
in the muddy waters of the setting.

Guards! Guards! Is not just a game for fans of Terry Pratchett's books however, it is an enjoyable, chaotic and interactive game with plenty of opportunities for clever plans, bitter reversals of luck, and miraculous comebacks.

Eight Great Spells have been stolen from the hallowed halls of the Unseen University. The players, dauntless members of Commander Vimes' famous City Watch, infiltrate the guilds of Ankh Morpork in the hope of finding support in the quest to return the spells to the Unseen University before disaster befalls the Discworld.

In so doing they will need to recruit help from the lowest to the highest ranks of Ankh Morporkian society, from the gilt-ridden nobility to those lacking any sense of gilt. Players will compete to the be the first to return their 5 assigned Great Spells to the Unseen University. To do so they will need to charm or bribe volunteers to help them, as well as make use of spells, curses, magic items and other odds and sods. While running around the streets of Ankh Morpork they must also beware of other players, as Saboteurs, Great Dragons, the Luggage (of course) and many varied other things can wreak havoc on even the best laid plans.

On their turn a player will move, may take actions such as buying scrolls, equipment, bribing or charming a volunteer, collecting money, going to the hospital to be cured and many more, and then resolve any special effects. At times players will want to co-operate with one another, and at other times they will be doing their utmost to foil, trip, harangue or otherwise confabulate each others' plans.

The player who manages to successfully return their assigned Great Spells to the Unseen University will be regarded a hero of Ankh Morpork!

A full review of the prototype version of the game is up over at boardgamesgeeks along with pictures of more of the pieces and board. Looks like a heck of a good time.  Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame should be released around July 12th if things hold to plans with Z-Man distributing in the US and Esdevium in Europe.

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INTERVIEW | Mark Charan Newton author of The Book of Transformations

Mark Charan Newton is the author of the genre bending Legends of the Red Sun series, which started quite strongly with Nights of Villjamur (reviewed here). It is a world of the far future that has the feel of a Fantasy with some magical-like technology. Newton's stories often play with themes of sexuality and society at war with itself while also mixing in Epic style strife of evil politicians and an invading race of monsters bent on the local populations death. The second in the series City of Ruin is one of my favorite books of the last couple of years that ups the world by leaps and bounds from an already high point.  Newton's latest The Book of Transformations has just been released in the UK and as a kindle book in the us while the first two books in the series are now available in the US as trade paperbacks.

MH: Thanks for joining us today. What has Mark "The Hair" Charan Newton been up to lately?

MCN: Well, quite a bit it turns out. Here's a brief sample: writing books, writing book reviews, growing vegetables, making wine, drinking whisky, reviewing whisky, running, yoga (something I'd recommend to anyone who writes all evening and works at a desk). Yet I still manage to find time to look at absolute nonsense on the Internet.

MH: The Book of Transformations is your third novel or fourth if you count The Reef, which you usually don't. Now correct me if I am wrong, but the action of TBoT is just about concurrent with City of Ruin. What made you want to structure it this way? Was it out of a sense of not relying on some of your better known characters?

MCN:  The storyline really demanded it, I think. I wanted each book to remain focused, and not lose any sense of standing on its own. And that pretty much meant splitting those events into two separate novels. What that did was also help me think creatively, and to make each of the books more interesting (why should anyone have to read all the books in a series? Why not jump in and have fun wherever?) I like to think of the storyline like points on a diamond-shape, splitting off at the start and joining up at the other end.

MH: What has been the reaction thus far on having a transgender character in The Book of Transformations? Were you at all worried about how it would be perceived?

MCN: It's too early to tell for the wider reaction - it has really only just been released - so we'll see what people are saying in a month or two, or even months down the line. Generally, the reaction has been positive from the genre crowd who haven't yet read it - I mean, that people are very open to the idea, almost excited about seeing a novel which features a transwoman, which says many positive things about fandom right now. I'm worried, of course, but not how it's perceived by wider fandom - more how it's perceived by those readers for whom transgender issues are a big concern, or a big part of their life. I had, however, been warned in advance that it might upset some folk - but you have to take a few risks as a writer from time to time. Plus, if no one writes about minorities at all, then how are things going to become more balanced?

MH: Well, I can tell you going in I had no problem with the concept and the execution fit in perfectly with the story, which lives up to the title in quite a few ways. The Book of Transformations successfully subverts the idea of Superheroes in that you create these very powerful people and build them up into icons only to have their lives torn apart around them. Do you secretly hate superheros?

MCN: Ha, no - not at all. Suffice to say, though, that I subscribe to the Watchmen school of heroes - that beyond the powers, superheroes are still people with stuff going on in their own lives. But power happens to be a central theme to the novel - it's contrasted with political and democratic power (such as with the anarchists, who choose to decentralise to minimise the negative impacts of power). If anything, it's structures of power that are what I choose to tackle, and superpowers are an extension of that metaphor.

MH: You're currently at work on the fourth and final volume of Legends of the Red Sun. Is there a title yet and are you planning on doing something else in this world or move on? You've certainly create a world with a rich history.

MCN: After book four, I'm drawing a line on this series. Four books that are all connected is quite the strain, so I think for my own sanity I need to move on to something fresh. I want to try something with different aesthetics and a different style of storytelling, because there's nothing duller for me than standing still and churning out the same thing each novel. I won't go into any details on what's next, but I will say that the setting is going to be a heck of a lot warmer!

MH: Ah, you tease. Can't wait for the ending to this series and to see what you have in store for us next. Thanks for your time and enjoy the whiskey.

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REVIEW | The Unremembered by Peter Orullian

This has been one of the harder reviews I've had to write since I started blogging. I put The Unremembered down halfway through as I was having trouble staying focused. Usually when that happens it is before I'm over 300 pages in, but I was going through quite a bit at the time so I chalked it up to that. I did however come back to The Unremembered about a month later and fell right back into it and finished the book liking it well enough. But since then I've struggled with this review, rewriting it multiple times because as I turned to reflect I couldn't nail what I liked about it as much as what I felt I didn't. And this is the result.

The Unremembered is Peter Orullian's very Epic debut. It is Epic in nearly every way. In terms of characters/points of view, battles/skirmishes, plot evasiveness, big magic, along with the scope of the land and its associated cultures. There is also a dark god of a sort who is at the heart of the matter, but little seen. All in all The Unremembered is very reminiscent of Robert Jordan and Eddings so if that is your cup of tea then afternoon tea is ready for you. But if you're expecting much more beyond that than look elsewhere as only a few things differentiate it from its forebears.

The Unremembered starts with a prologue that while straight forward enough still leaves so much, perhaps too much, to the imagination involving a race of god like beings responsible for the creation of the world and many others. There is a casting out of one of the gods who is apparently behind all the evil of the world.  We are then flung thousands of years in the future on the world where evil is spreading in a small village where teenage friends Tahn, Sutter, and Wendra are somehow at the crux of some evil plot.

The dense story does take awhile to grab hold as things are left sketchy for the main characters as they are dragged around. One thing that tends to grate on me in Epic Fantasy is the reliance on keeping the main character out of the loop following around people blindly, which is the case here. The leads are pushed around and bloodied without so much as a word of why for hundreds of pages from their all-knowing wizard leader.

Sometimes I was completely enveloped in the rich and lush world and then I'd get all annoyed because characters kept getting side tracked again and again, which doesn't do much for the core story. Too many flights, too many partings, and predictable meetings. The magic and story are complex and the use of music as magic was interesting, but not well enough explained to fully grasp. Apparently the next volume will go further into it.

The Unremembered does shows promise for what could be a remarkable world and cast, but it isn't there yet and I'm not sure Orullian's goal with the story would get it there. The story seems enmeshed in tropes that it loses itself in. The best part of the novel is the relationships, especially between Tahn and Sutter which is what kept me coming back for more. I give The Unremembered 5 out of 10 hats, but the 14 year-old in me would probably give it an 8 if I hadn't read some Jordan prior. I think I'm just a different reader now and expect different things out of my Fantasy then I did even 5 years ago.

If you are a fan of 80's and 90's Epic Fantasy and still savor for more than The Unremembered is for you. If you're looking for more Sanderson, Abercrombie, or Lynch type Fantasy than try elsewhere.

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Bibliomania Quote from The Library by Zoran Zivkovic

"Since moving to the apartment, I had not kept a home library. My apartment is small - just a studio. One little room, a vestibule,a kitchenette, and a bathroom....And it is a well known fact that books devour space. You can't reverse this law. However much space you give them, it's never enough. First they occupy the walls. They continue to spread wherever they can gain a foothold. Only ceilings are spared the invasion. New books keep arriving, and you can't bear to get rid of a single one. And so, slowly and imperceptibly, the volumes crowd out everything before them. Like glaciers."

from 'Home Library" by Zoran Zivkovic as found in his short story collection The Library

My major thought when I read this passage was: Yes, exactly. But not in a bad way as one of my dreams is to have a true home library. A room dedicated to my collection from floor to ceiling. What about all of you? Is a house over taken by books a good or bad thing?

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NEWS | American Gods Coming to HBO in 2013

After years of on and off discussions American Gods in some sort of film version is becoming a true reality as a long running series for HBO that is set to debut sometime in 2013 with 10 to 12 episodes per season as reported by THR.  Supposedly the long story line Gaiman and producers have planned out would entail events beyond the events of American Gods running into the long talked about sequel at least that is what Gaiman's tweet says:
And for those asking, No, 6 years of AMERICAN GODS on TV doesn't mean just the 1st book. It means I need to write the 2nd now, for a start.
Few details were released, but this little tidbit does show how they'll widen the well:.
Rich in religious folklore that spanned millennia and featuring deities from Greek and Nordic mythology, and even the Judeo-Christian monotheistic God making an appearance, in the contemporary U.S., American Gods will be effects-heavy to do justice to the awe-inspiring power of the divine beings. “There are some crazy things in there. We’ll probably be doing more effects in there than it’s been done on a television series,” said Goetzman.
Let the casting discussions begin. Who would be the perfect Shadow?

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Hmmmm...  Looks okay so far, but I'm far from sold...

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NEWS | Charles Yu's next novel

The very fine and very meta How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu is poised to become a classic in the Sci-Fi genre. Already Yu is a finalist for the John W. Campbell award this year in addition to How To Live Safely being a finalist for the Locus First Novel award. So a lot of people are wondering what he'll be doing next. According to Publisher's Marketplace he just sold a new short story collection titled Sorry Please Thank You to his publisher Pantheon as well as his next novel titled Trilogy: A Novel. More meta anyone? No other details have been released such as publication time or even a brief synopsis. The title does bring to mind Fantasy immediately albeit an ambitious one. It would be quite interesting to see Yu do for Fantasy what he did for Sci-Fi. Also, for those of you who have been waiting for the paperback of How to Live Safely it will be out June 28th sporting the above cover.

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Contest for Tim Akers' Jacob Burn Cycle

To celebrate the recent release of Tim Akers' Dead of Veridon I have one set of both Jacob Burn books from Solaris including Heart of Veridon to giveaway and a single copy of Dead of Veridon as well. So you've got two chances to get in on the Steampunk Noir-tasticness that is Tim Akers crazy mind. Be sure to check out my thoughts on Heart of Veridon to see why this is a series worth checking out.  Here is the blurb for Dead of Veridon, but you might want to skip if you haven't read HoV:
Trouble finds Jacob Burn. Kicked out of his house, out of his comfortable life, out of everything that is familiar, even turned away from his circle of criminal friends and interesting enemies. Two years after he saved an ungrateful city from a mad angel, thwarting the plans of every powerful faction in Veridon, Jacob is still trying to pull his life together. And still trouble finds him.

A bad job goes worse, and soon old enemies present themselves as allies, and former friends set themselves against Jacob as he tries to put the dead to rest and the living to justice. Everything gets more difficult when he’s appointed by the Council to investigate the rise of the cog-dead, while some hold him personally accountable, and others in the city work to use the chaos to their advantage.
To enter send an email to madhatterreview (AT) gmail (dot) com with your full name and snail mail address in the body and "VERIDON" in the subject line along. The deadline is midnight June15th. I'll announce the winner on the following day or as soon as I remember. This contest is open to the US residents only. If you send multiple entries you will be disqualified from the contest. The winner will be selected via random number generator per usual.

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New Procurements Including an Instant Read

Most of the last couple weeks hardly any new books showed up and than I go away for the weekend and came back to a nice pile. First up is Hounded by Kevin Hearne, which I finally grabbed while buying a couple birthday presents at Barnes & Noble. I've been looking forward to this one for awhile as it has a Highlander vibe to it, so I'm eager to check it out as it stars an immortal druid living in modern day Arizona and the next two books in the series are already available. The Book of Transformations is the third book in Mark Charan Newton's incredible Legends of the Red Sun series, which is immediate read for me after the events of City of Ruin, which was one of my favorite books last year. Already I like where it is headed and it seems to be a more direct sequel to the first book in the series.  I'm already 150 pages in. Also, of note is the fact that City of Ruin just came out in the US for the first time along with the paperback of Nights of Villjamur.

Peeking out next is the hotly anticipated sophomore effort Spellbound from Blake Charlton, which I'll be sure to get to before it releases in a couple months.  I've been on the look out for a new gritty Urban Fantasy series and Low Town by debutist Daniel Polansky just may be the ticket.  This book is titled The Straight Razor Cure in the UK and Low Town the US, which is also the series title.  Next is the the limited edition of Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie. Sub Press did fix the type issue on the cover that I mentioned awhile back and also had the color plates more evenly distributed than their edition of The Blade Itself.  Gorgeous production and definitely shelf of honor stuff.

Dead Iron is the first in a new Steampunk Western series from the very popular Devon Monk. After that is Charles Stross' hotly awaited Rule 34, which is a title you probably don't want to google. I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive is by musician and debuting author Steve Earle who is also know for his roles in The Wire and Treme. My wife is a fan of his and bought and read this in the same weekend. She than told me I must read it this summer, so I must. Heaven's Shadow by Goyer and Cassutt is one I've talked a little about from two very well known Hollywood writers. I'm trying to keep my expectations in check, but certainly love first contact stories so fingers crossed. Lastly is Jim and the Flims by mathematician Rudy Rucker, which looks just about as odd as you'd expect a Rucker novel to look.

Out of the bunch The Book of Transformations is the big one I've been waiting for, but I plan on getting to Low Town and Spellbound before they are officially released and few of the other soonish. Hounded will probably be slipped in between some longer reads soon as well.

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Cover Unveiled for Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Cover Not Final
Throne of the Crescent Moon is Saladin Ahmed's debut novel and my early bet on debut of the year for the Fantasy genre. Ahmed is part of the new guard bringing back Swords & Sorcery with a vengeance. Ahmed has been a finalist for the Nebula Award in the short story category and was just nominated for the John W. Campbell award for best new Fantasy writer amongst his many other accolades.  He has also written a few short stories in this world including the just released for audio “Judgment of Swords and Souls” that is well worth checking out. Here is the blurb for Throne of the Crescent Moon:
Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, "the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat," a fat old man who’s grown weary of chasing down monsters and saving lives, wants nothing more than to finally marry his old flame and spend his days sitting around his favorite teahouse. But a series of mysterious murders makes it clear that Adoulla’s beloved city still desperately needs his monster-hunting magics. To make things worse, Dhamsawaat is in the midst of a power struggle between the Khalif and a mysterious Robin Hood-type figure known as the Falcon Prince.

Adoulla and his uptight assistant, the holy warrior Raseed, soon learn that the murders and the political upheaval are connected. Adoulla, recruiting the help of old companions and new, discovers a sorcerous plot that threatens to turn his city and perhaps the world itself into a flaming, bloody ruin. And only he and his friends can stop this from happening.
Throne of the Crescent Moon will be released in February from DAW books as a hardcover. Here is the unadulterated art by Jason Chan, which shows a lot more of the epic detail than the slightly low-resolution version above. This is the first on my immediate read list for 2012.

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My Favorite Reads of 2011 So Far

We've hit the half way point in the year so I thought between this and the fact people are looking for their annual Summer Read Recommendations I'd chime in.  Without further adieu here are the books I most enjoyed this year so far.  These are not in any particular order.

2011 Releases

Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi
City of Ruins by Kristine Katherine Rusch
The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones  (reviewed here)
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine (review here)
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie  (reviewed here)
God's War by Kameron Hurley  (reviewed here)
Brave New Worlds ed. by John Joseph Adams  (reviewed here)
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan  (reviewed here)
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson  (reviewed here)

Published Prior to 2011

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

Of all of the above Among Thieves, Robopocalpyse, The Desert of Souls, and The Warded Man would make particularly good beach reads. They all move so effortlessly and definitely fall in the page-turning category. Also, note all four of these books are debuts of one sort or another, which I didn't realize until finishing this list. There are still plenty of other good chances to make it on my year-end list. We've got Mark Charan Newton's next Legends of the Red Sun, Leviathan Wakes still slumbers on my shelf as does The Map of Time and The Magician King. And the chance that Scott Lynch's next book will be released is still a possibility albeit a very thin one this late in the year.

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For the gamers out there

Ever since I was a wee child I've been fascinated by games of all stripes, but I usually gravitate towards those with dice. For years dice have been those bone white blocks with black dots thrown into boardgames or those soccer shaped ones used in your Dungeons & Dragons game. Over the last 15 years there has been an explosion in colored dies used mostly for Dungeons & Dragons. I have some friends who get a new color for each new character they create. But no one has really reinvented dice at all. Well that changes with Dice Age, which I'm backing on over at Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is this really amazing platform designed to help fledgling people with making their dreams come true. Usually it involves a product or art piece of some kind, but it could just as easily be a book. I've been spending a fair amount of time and money of there lately - probably too much on both counts.

From the moment I saw Dice Age I had to be part. Just to figure out what that damn rocket does in a game that is supposedly a mix of Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and a touch of Uno. The complete starter set has 23 different dice grouped into colors giving them different attributes depending on the color such as Light (yellow), Warfare (orange), and Might (red). You can start with a set of 10 random dice, which is enough for 2 people to play, but I went for the whole shebang because I couldn't help myself .

The keep with the cannon on top called "Movur's Outpost" is something I'd probably pay money for all by itself, but I always like to vary my games and with 23 pieces a four player game is well worth it for $50 since the replay-ability seems high. The random 10 set is only $25 or 5 for $15, which if you get a friend to do the same will give you each enough to play against each other. Even for people who just like the shapes can get in on the action with a $7 pledge to get two random dice when they are available. There are also plans for another 100 original dice that if the project is a hit will be released over the years to come expanding the game.

Setup of the Game:

Once upon a long time ago...
You belong to the Gods that rule on top of the cosmos. You hold in your hands the ultimate might to create new planets, new dimensions, in their every detail from the infinitely small to the infinitely vast: Your power is only limited by your imagination. You practiced combining energies; the positive, negative and multicolored. And at last, you have been chosen for the highest challenge: the Crown of Gods, the divine joust to the mastering of entropy and chaos. The competition will be tough, and you will have to summon up your most advanced creation skills. But you have a secret weapon: you control hazard!

Components: 10 dice (of one cubic inch volume each), 1 Rulebook (20 pages), 1 awesome dice pouch with the Dice Age logo on the back.

Also, the rules for the main Dice Age game "The Crown of Gods" are up, but there are apparently at least two other games players have designed themselves. To learn more about this game visit Dice Age's Kickstarter page and don't forget to click on the update link as it has loads more descriptions of individual dice.

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REVIEW | Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine

In a post-apocalyptic landscape a circus wanders around the waste from small enclave of life to the next in a never ending journey to entrance audiences with their wonders and grotesqueries. They may only visit a town once in a lifetime, if you're lucky, so get in while you can. Just don't tag along unless you have a strong heart unless you don't have a problem with it being replaced with scrap metal.

Last year Paul Jessup wrote an article for this corner of the web. An article that served as almost a call to action on what he was hoping for out of Steampunk in the future. A Steampunk novel that wasn't just Victorian. That wasn't just all about cogs and steam. That wasn't about colonialism and white people. Well the answer to his mandate has been answered by Valentine with a very dark and melodic first novel that consists of an unforgettable story that stays with you long after you finish the last page. Mechanique will haunt your dreams.

Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti is a novel of disparities. Disparities of time, love, and of what life is and should be. Even of what life could be, but probably shouldn't be.

Life in any circus can be hard. Hard for all the traveling, setup, and performing. But the Tresaulti circus is an entirely different beast. Like none you've seen before.  It is filled with moody characters desiring what someone else has even if that something is another person or a part of a person. Somehow Valentine makes a group of mostly unlikable characters into a family. A family you end up caring quite a bit about. I was surprised how much I came to care for each and every one of them. Even those I loathed and couldn't entirely comprehend.

The pacing and style take quite a few chapters to get a handle on, but all the hard work pays off in this slim volume that is heavy with meaning. We flip back and forth through time seemingly at random that starts with the mention of the death of a character who we only relive through the memories of others.   Each chapter acts almost as a standalone short story as Valentine has gone with her strengths of less is more. Each and every word is important and has reverberations throughout the narrative as the characters search for what comes next.

The Steampunk aspects appear more magical than mechanical, but each and every touch is done thoughtfully and with verve. Sure there are people with mechanical arms and wings, but this story is so much more than Steampunk. Mechanique actually has more in common with New Weird given its horror influences. Fans of early Mieville and VanderMeer will fall in love.

Mechanique is best experienced for yourself rather than reading an analysis. All those that like challenging reads should give this a chance and even a few of you who don't. On it surface you can simply enjoy it for the circus motifs and post-apocalyptic side. For you Steampunk fans this is one of the most original novels you'll ever find around the genre. For those that go deeper you'll be richly rewarded. I give Mechanique 8.5 out of 10 hats. I can't wait to see what Valentine has in store for us next. She is a voice to watch.  Be sure to check out an earlier post I did on the related short story work available online for the Circus Tresaulti.

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Cover Unveiled for Infidel by Kameron Kurley

Earlier this year Kameron Hurley impressed a lot of people including me with her harsh debut God's War. The art by Dave Palumbo impressed me as well and his version for the sequel Infidel is no slouch either. In fact I like it a bit more. Hurley's world is a strange and fascinating mixture of science and what seems like magic on a distant world in the distant future. Very much a New Weird of sorts. Culture clashing and religious wars starring a female character that takes as good as she gets in a fight.  Here is the blurb for Infidel:
The only thing worse than war is revolution. Especially when you’re already losing the war…

Nyx used to be a bel dame, a government-funded assassin with a talent for cutting off heads for cash. Her country’s war rages on, but her assassin days are long over. Now she’s babysitting diplomats to make ends meet and longing for the days when killing people was a lot more honorable.

When Nyx’s former bel dame “sisters” lead a coup against the government that threatens to plunge the country into civil war, Nyx volunteers to stop them. The hunt takes Nyx and her inglorious team of mercenaries to one of the richest, most peaceful, and most contaminated countries on the planet — a country wholly unprepared to host a battle waged by the world’s deadliest assassins.
In a rotten country of sweet-tongued politicians, giant bugs, and renegade shape shifters, Nyx will forge unlikely allies and rekindle old acquaintances. And the bodies she leaves scattered across the continent this time… may include her own.

Because no matter where you go or how far you run in this world, one thing is certain: the bloody bel dames will find you.
Infidel will be released in October from Night Shade Books, which is a couple months earlier than originally planned. Also take a gander at the art sans type.

Art by Dave Palumbo

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