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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

New Procurements and Update

Yes, I've been quiet unless you follow me on twitter. It's that time of year where I'm running in 3 directions. I will even be traveling again right before Christmas so it will be relatively quiet until the new year. Have no fear though as I am working on a few things I hope to have up soon including a new interview and even though I have posted it I have been keeping up with my reading log. Might even get around to posting it before the end of the year so that I can post my favorites at the start of 2013. In the meantime to catch you all up on the latest additions to my collection. The first photo are my latest purchases while the 2nd are the review copies that have come my way.

Becalmed is a novella from Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Diving Universe with this one filling in what I see as an important hole about why a certain Dignity vessel was on the run. Next is the second volume of the graphic novel Super Dinosaur that I'll pass on to my niece and nephew after I have my fun with it. Nine Kinds of Naked by Tony Vigorito is one I've been meaning to get for myself since I read his absurdist debut Just a Couple of Days. Also filling a hole in my collection is Delany's Dhalgren, which has been on my to read list for over a decade. Maybe next year it will finally get checked off.  The Fantastic Pulps is an anthology originally released in the 70's comprised of stories published in the late 1800's to the 1930's with some greats including Jack London, E.R. Burroughs, Ray Bradbury, Dashiell Hammett, and Robert Bloch. Appropriately last in the stack is Zoran Zivkovic's The Last Book.

London Falling is Doctor Who scribe Paul Cornell's first novel outside of the Whoverse in almost a decade. This one definitely seems aimed at the Felix Castor audience, which means I'm game. The Apes of Wrath is the anthology idea I wish I always came up with. It goes pretty deep in the canons of Weird too with stories by Franz Kafka, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard all the way to modern scribes  Mary Robinette Kowal and Karen Joy Fowler. The next, Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn is a Han and Chewie focused caper ala Oceans 11, which means I'm reading it right now. This is the type of story Disney should try before going right for Episode 7 showcasing the rich universe available. One of my favorite anthologies of 2011, Brave New Worlds (reviewed here) edited by John Joseph Adams,  is getting a new edition with 2 new stories. If you missed it the first time around grab it now. River Road is Suzanne Johnson's sophmore novel continuing her New Orleans focused Urban Fantasy series. Cyberpunk is an anthology coming out next March with an all-star collection of authors.

The Rise of Ransom City is Felix Gilman's sequel to one of the Weirdest Westerns I've ever read, The Half-Made World (reviewed here). The big number next is the final Wheel of Time novel. Since I'm woefully behind on the series I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm open to ideas. Closing out the pile is King of the Dead by Joseph Nassie and Malice by John Gwynne.

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REVIEW | Brave New Worlds ed. by John Joseph Adams
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REVIEW | Diving Into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
INTERVIEW | Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck

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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Jim Butcher's Future Projects
REVIEW | Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
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REVIEW | Control Point by Myke Cole

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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REVIEW | Couch by Benjamin Parzybok

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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GUEST POST | Jeff Salyards on Why I Love Bloody Fantasy So Much

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 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)

Cover Unveiled for You by Austin Grossman

A few years back Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible flipped the superhero story giving it from the point of view of the villain. You, Grossman's latest book looks to give us the videogame experience from the side of the programmers. The cover itself doesn't do much for me as the color is a bit bland, but it does give a sense of the content at least. Here's the blurb:
A novel of mystery, videogames, and the people who create them, by the bestselling author of Soon I Will Be Invincible, Austin Grossman.

When Russell joins Black Arts games, the hottest studio in the game industry, he meets an eccentric crew of nerds hacking the frontiers of both technology and entertainment. But when their revolutionary next-gen game is threatened by a mysterious software glitch, Russell finds himself in a race to save both his job and the people he has grown to care about.

The bug is the first clue in a mystery leading back twenty years through real and virtual worlds, corporate boardrooms and high school computer camp, to a secret that changed a friendship and the history of gaming. YOU is a thrilling, hilarious, authentic portrait of the world of professional game makers; and the story of how learning to play can save your life.
Could this be Snow Crash with a funny angle? I sure hope so. You will be out March 26th, 2013. Mark that another as one to watch for next year.

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Me in the Aether

No, not that kind of aether. I'd probably not be able to type had I been around that. I'm out there in the Internet aether being interviewed by Mieneke over at A Fantastical Librarian. In it we chat bookshelves, rating, and negative reviews. Enjoy my nattering!

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Bibliomania Quote from The Library by Zoran Zivkovic

Giveaway for the complete Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin

To celebrate the re-release of Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea books with an all new matching looks Houghton Mifflin has given one of you a chance to get the set for free. I can't overstate enough how much of an effect these books had on me growing up and I definitely found it confusing that it was called a trilogy even though there were 4 books and later a fifth plus a short story collection placed in the world. The new look would have certainly caught my 12-year-old eye.

To enter the giveaway email madhatterreview (AT) gmail (dot) com with your full name and snail mail address in the body and "EARTHSEA" in the subject line. One submission per person so multiple entries will get you disqualified. The deadline is midnight November 1st at 11:59 PM. I'll announce the winners on the following day or as soon as I remember. This contest is open to the US only. The winner will be selected via random number generator per usual. These will ship out sooner after the contest so if you have a young reader in your life it could be the perfect holiday gift.

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Cover Unveiled for The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham

Daniel Abraham's The Dagger and the Coin has become one of the most solid Fantasy series over the last 2 years and the covers so far while being quite nice in a traditional yet modern sort of way have so far gone the weapon route for art, but this time for the third book, The Tyrant's Law, Orbit is treating us to some flaming monsters! Magic has been part of the books though not the focus, but stakes certainly seem to be rising in that area. Here's the blurb, but those who are behind in the series may just want to keep it to gazing at the cover:
The great war cannot be stopped.

The tyrant Geder Palliako begins a conquest aimed at bringing peace to the world, though his resources are stretched too thin. When things go poorly, he finds a convenient target among the thirteen races and sparks a genocide.

Clara Kalliam, freed by having fallen from grace, remakes herself as a "loyal traitor" and starts building an underground resistance movement that seeks to undermine Geder through those closest to him.

Cithrin bel Sarcour is apprenticing in a city that's taken over by Antea, and uses her status as Geder's one-time lover to cover up an underground railroad smuggling refugees to safety.

And Marcus Wester and Master Kit race against time and Geder Palliako's soldiers in an attempt to awaken a force that could change the fate of the world.

The Tyrant's War will be out in May and like the first two books will be an immediate get for me. Also, Abraham along with his co-conspirator Ty Frank will also be writing a Han Solo POV novel in the Star Wars universe under their James S.A. Corey name though no release date has been announced. This also reminds me I have to get to Caliban's War soon. Maybe it will be my Thanksgiving vacation treat...

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New Procurements

This past weekend I went through my stacks and donated more than 70 books to the local library. But does the fact that I am always running out of space stop books from showing up? Not in the Hatter household. Starting this weeks' newest additions is the slipcase version of American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s edited by Gary K. Wolfe that I pre-ordered months ago. It is a beautiful package all around. Even with bound-in ribbon bookmarks!

Of the nine novels I only own the Bester. Here's the content's:
Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth / The Space Merchants
Theodore Sturgeon / More Than Human
Leigh Brackett / The Long Tomorrow
Richard Matheson / The Shrinking Man
Robert Heinlein / Double Star
Alfred Bester / The Stars My Destination
James Blish / A Case of Conscience
Algis Budrys / Who?
Fritz Leiber / The Big Time

I also finally bought Caliban's War as I feel a Sci-Fi kick coming on. I missed out on Libba Bray's The Diviners at Book Expo this year despite several attempts at nabbing a copy so when I finally spotted it at a bookstore I had to buy it.

In the review copy department quite a few interesting reads caught my eye. Topping is the next Hap and Leonard novella, Dead Aim, from Joe R. Lansdale's. A couple debuts I've had my eye on showed up: Max Gladstone's Legal Magic Thriller Three Parts Dead and Christopher Bennett's Only Superhuman, featuring enhanced humans in space. Lockhart's second Lovecraft inspired anthology The Book of Cthulhu II looks just as good as the first, which I still have to finish. The Tainted City is Country Shafer's sequel to The Whitefire Crossing, which I missed last year, but I just nabbed it for free from Amazon. Grab it now as it is only free for a short time. Another debut, Ironskin by Tina Connolly closes things out. This might be one my wife will try at first as it is influenced by Jane Eyre.

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Mad Hatter's Reading Log - May through July

In an effort to get somewhat caught up and for me to keep things straight in my own head here are the books I've read the last few months. Lots of very memorable reads and some that weren't quite as good as I hoped.


35. Redshirts by John Scalzi - Scalzi nails this send-up of early Star Trek. See review here.
36. Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards - Salyards and Arki are the heir apparents to Glen Cook and Croaker. Black Company fans may have just found their new favorite series though I did have a few problems with it, which my review describes.
37. Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti - It has been many years since I got into Ligotti, but he hasn't lost any of the  weird edge that defines his fiction. This was the Sub Press definitive edition, which is quite a nice version. Highly recommended.
38. The Mongoliad by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, etc. - More of a Historical novel rather then a Historical Fantasy. Very little in the way of magic, but the emphasis is on realism, especially in terms of sword fighting, which is quite well done. The culture of the Mongols is explored extensively with their daily life, ruthlessness, and empire building. Those parts were the most interesting while the Templar-like group is kept at the fringes of things too much. I'm on the fence about the series as it doesn't have enough action for me but will be checking out the next volume to see if it grabs me a bit more.
39. Amped by Daniel H. Wilson - Wilson's follow-up to Robopocalypse (review here) isn't as strong, but definitely had a good Tech-Action vibe that kept me engrossed. The characters are a bit too shallow, especially the secondary players, but it gives off the big-budget action movie vibe that will draw casual readers. Recommend with reservations.
40. The Broken Universe by Paul Melko - Melko's sequel to The Walls of the Universe (review here) ups the ante involving more alternative universes, which calls in some of the secret players. We finally get some pay off for Easter eggs laid in the first book, but Melko is still holding out on us. Recommended, especially for alternative universe story lovers.
41. The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham - Abraham makes financials and commerce some of most interesting themes going in Fantasy today. While I'm not as deeply in to the series as his Long Price Quartet this is still a can't miss series. I think the best is still to come and considering how good this series already is Abraham may leave us breathless. Highly recommend.
42. Worldsoul by Liz Williams - Williams gets an A+ for imagination and world-building, but a B- for characterization and flow. For a book so slim she pack 12 pounds in a 10 pound sack and it shows. Librarian warriors, forgotten gods, and politics mix nicely, but due to too many POVs and seemingly disparate story lines it does become difficult to follow. I'm willing to say it might have been me and my reading patterns though as it might have worked better with fewer reading sessions.
43. Legion by Brandon Sanderson - This is not the Sanderson most of us are use to, which isn't a bad thing. It feels more like the experimental Sanderson. The story is contemporary in nature and plays as a more psychological thriller with one character who manifests other personalities. To go much further into it would ruin things. Recommend and I hope he does more with these characters, but don't come in expecting Fantasy/Magic.


44. Prepare to Die! by Paul Tobin - Very much influenced by Watchmen. It has the dark grittiness of Alan Moore and the adolescent introspection of Nick Hornby. Definitely a boy book as the female characters have no depth or agency of their own. But I love the origin stories and action. A can't miss for comic book fans. Highly recommended.
45. The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis - Tregillis more than lived up to my hopes brought about by Bitter Seeds [review here], which were high. No sense of middle book syndrome at all. Every nuanced character is still here and Gretel's plans all come to fruition. Definitely in the running for one of my favorite books of the year.
46. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper - One of the funniest and most touching books I've read this year. A has been rock star is confronted with is mortality. Hilarity ensues. Highly recommended.
47. Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe - Everyone's favorite sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse is back and he's sea sick. While this isn't the best novel in the series it is still quite entertaining and introduces a female sword jockey you'll almost instantly fall in love with. Recommended.
48. After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh - Definitely in the running for collection of the year, especially for those who like their fiction a bit more dour. McHugh is a master wordsmith. Highly recommended.
49. Railsea by China Mieville - Even Mieville light can be weird. Giant moles run amok in a world crisscrossed with railroad lines and plenty people looking for revenge. Recommended.
50. Irredeemable Vol 1. by Mark Waid - Ana amazing start to the simple idea of an all powerful superhero ala Superman going mad. Highly recommended.
51. Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by G.J. Koch - Justin gave this an awesome review that is spot on, which also cinched this as a read for me. Ice Pirates meets Firefly indeed. A bit lighter, and funnier though. Outland is a keeper. Recommend for when you need a laugh and some good action. Just don't think about the science too much.
52. Black Bottle by Anthony Huso- This has much of the beauty, grace, and strangeness of The Last Page (review here), but has lost something as well. The major problem was I felt lost and confused more than a few times even with re-reads of chapters. There is a good payoff in the end yet I have a feeling it will be hard for everyone to get there. Even with some deep reservations Huso has created one of the most original worlds found in fiction today. I'm eager to see what he'll do next.
53. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Compared to the other two Cemetery of Forgotten Books this is an extremely light, yet endearing story. Fermin takes center stage who is just as lovable, but the story itself felt too inconsequential at times even though some mysteries are solved some of which I hadn't even realized were mysteries. Recommended. I think this is one I'll like more upon a future re-read.
54. Year Zero by Rob Reid - Decent, but I kept feeling like if the characters had a bit more depth it would have been an amazing book. Instead it is just a nice, fun read. See short review here.


55. Shadow Show edited by Sam Weller & Mort Castle - Can you say anthology of the year? Because I know I can. I still have a few left to read, but I had to put it down just because I don't want to be done with it. They have done Bradbury a great honor.
56. Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig - A brash female anti-hero is just what Urban Fantasy needed. With wit and a genuine darkside this is a fabulous series starter. Highly recommended, especially if you like foul mouthed people.
57. Irredeemable Volume 2 & 3 by Mark Waid - Again an outstanding take on superheros gone wild. Man, there is some dark stuff in here.
58. The Goon: The Deformed of Body and Devious of Mind - Volume 11 by Eric Powell - Powell slams Twilight, Hobos, and carnies right in the face with this one. Still some of the best art found in graphic novels today.
59. "Rose of Fire" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - The prequel story to the creation of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. A nice little fill-in, but it wasn't as magical as I had been hoping. It is free and worth much more than that to me.
60. The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett - The best Epic Fantasy I've read all year and yes I know I'm behind the curve on this one, but I had to wait until I knew the next book was in sight. The Daylight War will be read as soon as I get my greedy hands on it.
61. Elric: The Balance Lost: Vol 2 by Chris Roberson - Yes, I'm on a bit of a comic kick at the moment. If you're an Elric fan grab this series. It is a little messy, but it is coming together quite nicely.
62. Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson - A brilliant cross of Hackers, Middle Eastern Society and Djinn. Highly recommended. See review here.
63. Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks by Joe Hill - This is where the origins of many things are uncovered. Highly recommended.
64. Irredeemable Vol 4 & 5 by Mark Waid - The story is starting to feel too stretched at this point, but I'm intrigued enough to go a little further or skip ahead to the last couple volumes.
63. Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines - Loved, loved this book. The story Hines has been working himself up to. Highly recommended and check out the interview I did with him this summer.
64. The Light is the Darkness by Laird Barron - Dark gods, evil science, and combat are thrown together in this novella, which packs more in than many novels. I didn't find it as strong as Barron's The Croning, but it was a nice treat related to some of his other short fiction. Recommended.
65. The Broken Isles by Mark Charan Newton - The fourth and final book in the Legends of the Red Sun ended things well, almost too well as I would have liked a little more exploration of the world and especially Frater Mercury. Overall, this is an above average series that mixes Epic Fantasy, future histories, and a bit of the Weird to good effect. It paints a far future that is rough, weird, and believable.

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MICRO REVIEW | Year Zero by Rob Reid

Like Ready Player One, Year Zero is the type of book that will hit the sweet spot for those of a certain generation. Year Zero revels in the music of the 80's and 90's and also the Napster era legal issues of the 00's. Some characters are even supposed to resemble names you might know from the late 80's to early 90's pop music. Reid certainly has the right pedigree to write such a book having started Rhapsody. There are plenty of laughs to be had as we meet a cadre of unusual aliens and odd situations.

There are some issues, which keep Year Zero from attaining its potential. The main character comes off very flat and doesn't go through much growth despite the outcome. Yet he knows himself well. However, many of the side characters are also very one dimensional as well and just seem there for a specific joke at times. Especially the space slut.

Besides the many in-jokes, the time exploring the other races of the cosmos was very inventive, especially a certain race whose name isn't worth mentioning. All in all, a very solid albeit light first novel, but don't going into thinking this is the next Hitchhiker's Guide or you'll be disappointed. The style actually reminded more of Christopher Moore in space mixed with some court room theatrics and a decent send-up of reality television.

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Covers Unveiled for NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Coming early in 2013 is Joe Hill's long awaited (by me at least) third full length novel after Horns, which is one of my favorite Horror novels of the last decade. In the US Hill's latest is being called Nos4a2 though in the UK they appear to be going with Nos4r2. Hill explains why in a tweet:

Joe Hill ‏@joe_hill:
The new novel is NOS4A2 in the US but for reasons of UK pronunciation is NOS4R2 on the other side of the pond.
US Harper/William Morrow Cover
UK Gollancz Cover
Both seem to do the job though the US has the clean "big book" look publishers go after when they don't want to turn anyone off while the UK goes for a nice atmospheric Horror cover. No official description is available, but Hill did discuss the book earlier this year at WorldCon in this video.

The estimated release date for the US edition of Nos4a2 is the end of April though that could change. No word on when the UK release will be, but something close seems likely. Add this is my list of CANNOT wait for titles in 2013.

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New Procurements

Yes, it is that time again. The first shot is of books I purchased and the second books sent for potential review. Lots of big name books in the second.

The Islanders by Christopher Priest made quite a splash across the pond, but thus far is available only by import in the US. I had to order it used and what came in the mail but an ex-library copy. Still it is in good condition. The new few were bought on my vacation. Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky is a new translation of a classic first contact story. The Haunting Of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding I nabbed just because it is Wooding who has not disappointed me yet. Stephenson's Reamde was sitting on the discount shelf for under $7, which was a sign that it was time I should scoop it up, but it will be a while before I get to the this hefty tome.

The first few here will be gobbled up very, very soon with hopes to of doing reviews close to their release dates this Fal. That's right I've got Sanderson's The Emerpor's Soul, which is placed on the same word as Elantris.   The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books is Walter Moers' latest Zamonia novel and it looks to be back in the fantastic city of a much changed Bookholm. The much anticipated The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi is the sequel to The Quantum Thief, which I liked quite a bit a couple years back. Mark Hodder's A Red Sun Also Rises looks to be an odd Sword & Planet that could be a lot of fun as well.

The Rapture of the Nerds is a Doctorow and Stross collaboration. Is that too much concentrated nerd in one package? Alchemystic is Anton Strout's start to a new Urban Fantasy series featuring gargoyles, which just might be a good light read. Daugther of the Sword is Steve Bein's debut and I've already heard a few good things that make me think I'll like it. Salvage Demolition is Tim Powers' latest novella from Sub Pres. The Hunter from the Woods is by Robert McCammon who I've heard loads about, but never tried before. This just might be the one. And lastly is James Cain's long lost novel The Cocktail Waitress.

Quite a nice stack I must say!

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MICRO REVIEW | Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Alif The Unseen is a story with a lot of depth. Many social issues are brought to the fore in an honest and believable ways. The characters while cold at first grow so much as things progress. You can feel them changing through the experiences they share. The setting is an Arab city where the divide between the classes is very apparent and is the closest I've glimpsed this society from the inside. Activism or hacktivism culture as it has become known as is at the center of things, but so is a magical world. Alif, the protagonist, learns that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive in his fight to stay alive.

Alif The Unseen is many things. A cyber thriller, a peek into the Arab way of life, and a journey through the mythology of the middle east. And it does each equally well in what ends up being one of the most memorable stories I've read this year. Superb in nearly every facet.  Simply, a brilliant cross of Hackers, Middle Eastern Society and Djinn. I can't wait to see what Wilson does next.

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Cover Confusion - An International Incident Edition

A couple weeks back Saladin Ahmed unveiled the Polish cover for Throne of the Crescent Moon.

I thought: Not bad. A little too hooded for my likes. And who knew Ahmed was taking a crack at writing the novelization of the new Tron movie? In all seriousness Throne of the Crescent Moon is an awesome book and I can't wait for the sequel. However, a few days later Brent Weeks showed off the German cover for The Blinding Knife.

Notice any similarities? I'm not sure where the image itself originated. It could be a case of stock art that anyone can buy, the same designer reusing art in a different region, or even one of the publishers licensing the art to the other. It definitely falls in line with the style of the Night Angel books which were well used internationally.

Speaking of The Blinding Knife, I finished it just last week and it was just as good as The Black Prism. Probably even better. Man, Weeks knows how to stab someone in the back and twist it. Also, Ahmed just released an eBook short story collection called Engraved on the Eye. Check it out. I know I will.

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Contest Winners

I'm still a bit behind. Right when I returned from vacation I got slammed at work and until my big project is done I'll still be mostly absent. I also finally closed on my house, which I've been living in already, but there is still plenty to do there. So here are the long overdue winners of the triple contest.

Giveaway the First
The winner of the Ray Bradbury tribute anthology Shadow Show is Lonnie from New Jersey. May your tattoos not come to life and run amok.

Giveaway the Second
The winner of the strange and wondrous anthology The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities is Candiss from Washington. May you find many odd objects to fill your curio cabinet.

Giveaway the Third
The winner of the Mystery giveaway is Brett from Texas who has chosen Science Fiction as the types of books he'd like. That shouldn't be a problem

Books will be mailed out this week.

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The I'm Away from the Blog-O-Sphere Giveaway

I'm not with you this week. At least physically. Or would it be virtually? In any event I'm here with you at least spiritually as I'm on vacation and most likely reading. It has been a busy summer what with ALL THE THINGS needing doing and myriad plans that have kept me away from postings as much as I would have liked. To make up for that and this week I thought a giveaway was in order. This will be a triple header giveaway with the first two from duplicate review copies I received and the other is the well...the other... Anyway here you go.


Shadow Show is the Ray Bradbury tribute anthology I've mentioned before. I've read more than half the stories so far and it has thus far been one of the finest tribute works I've ever read. Even better than the Jack Vance tribute. And there are some major hitters in this: Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Dave Eggers, Harlan Ellison, Alice Hoffman, Audrey Niffenegger, Ramsey Campbell, Robert McCammon, Dan Chaon, Kelly Link, Charles Yu to name but a few.


The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer is so much more than an anthology. It is a treasure and one I've been loathe to read quickly preferring to dip in at different places for just a taste of what it has to offer. Some of the contributors include: Alan Moore, Lev Grossman, Mike Mignola, China Mieville, Cherie Priest, Carrie Vaughn, Garth Nix, Michael Moorcock , Holly Black, Jeffrey Ford, and Ted Chiang. This isn't Steampunk. This isn't Weird. This is pure Lambshead.



Let's call this the mystery giveaway. When you e-mail to enter the contest also include your favorite genre from Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, or Paranormal Romance. What you'll win is at least 3 books from that genre from my collection. It could be the latest release or it could be something older from my collection, but in very good condition.


To enter any of the giveaways email madhatterreview (AT) gmail (dot) com with your full name and snail mail address in the body and the name of the contest you'd like to enter in the subject line. Please send a separate e-mail for each contest you want to enter and remember the extra info for the last giveaway. One submission per contest allowable, but multiple entries for the same giveaway will get you disqualified. The deadline is midnight September 1st. I'll announce the winners on the following day or as soon as I remember. This contest is open to the US only. The winner will be selected via random number generator per usual.

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