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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

Cover Unveiled for John Scalzi's Lock In

Fresh off his Hugo win for Redshirts and the commercial success of The Human Division, John Scalzi is coming back with what looks to be another standalone. And it is also his second near-future novel, if you could Agent to the Stars, which I do. Lock In explores a virus that is running rampant and for the most part it is manageable, but for some it turns them into virtually living statues. I'm definitely interested to see how Scalzi's trademark snark work into such a story.  Here's the teaser description:
Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

One per cent doesn't seem like a lot. But in the United States, that's 1.7 million people “locked in”...including the President's wife and daughter.

Spurred by grief and the sheer magnitude of the suffering, America undertakes a massive scientific initiative. Nothing can restore the ability to control their own bodies to the locked in. But then two new technologies emerge. One is a virtual-reality environment, “The Agora,” in which the locked-in can interact with other humans, both locked-in and not. The other is the discovery that a few rare individuals have brains that are receptive to being controlled by others, meaning that from time to time, those who are locked in can “ride” these people and use their bodies as if they were their own.

This skill is quickly regulated, licensed, bonded, and controlled. Nothing can go wrong. Certainly nobody would be tempted to misuse it, for murder, for political power, or worse....
I'm not sure if the cover is final, but currently it seems a little bland for a Scalzi cover though it moves him into the clean look that has become so popular for many best-selling authors. Lock In should be out in late August, but it should be noted Scalzi is still currently writing the manuscript.

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Cover Unveiled for Armada by Ernest Cline

With Ready Player One released just two years ago Ernest Cline created the nearly perfect nostalgia trip to gamer culture of the 70s and 80s. His next work Armada seems to fit in a similar mode though in the real instead of the virtual. Judging from the blurb I'd say this will give heavy nods to things like Flight of the Navigator and The Last Starfighter. Here's the official blurb:
Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school's courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he's sure he's still dreaming.
But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he's been playing obsessively for years isn't just a game; it's part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they'll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.
As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he'll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he's been thrown into.
The cover goes for a early Galaga/Space Invaders vibe which should hit the right market, but this may not be final. Armada will be released in July, 2014 from Crown. I'll be there with book tokens ready to plock down.

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7 Picks for the Summer

Summer is not only upon us, but sitting on most of our faces at this moment. Wouldn't it be nice to put something else a bit closer to your face? Well how about some good books? What a novel idea!

Below are my Summer picks, which also amount to what are some of my favorite reads of the year thus far. I left off novels from series in progress as I like to think of this as a list I'd rattle off to a friend I haven't seen in a long time who might not be down the genre hole as deeply as I. These are in no particular order.

The Age of Ice by J. M. Sidorova

This one is definitely the most challenging read of the bunch, but it is worth it. If you're feeling the heat then the cure is surely The Age of Ice with a protagonist who has not only a cold disposition, but whose icy skin leaves him at arms length from everyone in his life. Placed during the late 1700s in Czarist Russia it is both a wonderful historical look at the period as well as a beautifully told story about feeling out of place wherever you are.

Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

This is exactly what I want my Sci-Fi to be. The story centers on a future in which good looking women who die are kept cryogenically frozen and can be reanimated if someone is willing to pay the exorbitant costs involved. In less capable hands this could have easily turned comic, but McIntosh has infused his characters with such believable depth you can't help care for them. The future McIntosh envisions is telling about the direction of our own hyper connected society and the direction that we're headed towards.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

As the title intimates a Jewish golem and a genie out of Arabian lore both end up in New York City in search of a place they fit in. One is as blank slate driven by simple desires while the other is already hundreds of years old, but far out of their own time. The New York City of the early 1900s is not only beautifully explored but so are the communities of Syrian and Jewish these character inhabit. It's a fantastical love story that had me from its opening pages.

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

Guns and magic have finally hit their stride with McClellan's opening salvo in the Powder Mage Trilogy which we enter in the middle of a coup d'état with the King and his mages of old being silenced to usher in the age of the Powder Mages. My only real complaint is that there are very few women of substance in the telling. Hopefully this will be fixed in the subsequent volumes. Still McClellan's got me hooked and I need my next fix. Someone pass the snuff box.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Yes, it is on everyone's list, but it deserves it for more than the author's name on the cover. A month removed and my mind still wanders back. The tone is highly personable which makes it feel like your own tale of childhood as you fight against an ancient evil mistakenly released.

Lexicon by Max Barry

Words of power are not necessarily a new idea, but Barry breathes life and high action into them with his secret society of Poets who have access to a lexicon that will have you doing back flips if they so desired. Simply a page flipping good yarn that hits far more often than it misses with a tight plot and humor in all the right places.

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This is one falls into the "fun" category and lives up to the publisher tagline, which basically boils down to a European Forrest Gump. If you like road trip stories than consider this a world trip movie as the old man in question Allan Karlsson lives a rich full life and likes to blow things up. But this isn't just the story of an old man jumping out the window, but flips back and forth to the life of a young Allan who meets some of the most influential people of the last 100 years.

One thing is clear from this list: I have a thing for Historical fiction this year. So what have you really enjoyed this summer?

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NEWS | The Name of the Wind to TV and Abercrombie's new trilogy

According to The Bookseller Job Abercombie has just sold a new loose trilogy to Harper Voyager in the UK with the first book slated for 2014 to be titled Half a King. The new books will not be related to the First Law world, but a more traditional yet alternative ancient Europe in the time of the Dark Ages. The books will also be aimed at both a younger demographic as well as Joe's traditional adult audience. For Abercrombie this probably just means cutting down on the cuss words and graphic sex. Abercrombie said:
“In some ways this is a very different sort of book from what I’ve written so far. It’s aimed partly at younger readers (maybe the 12-16 range). It’s much shorter – 80,000 words compared to 175,000 for my shortest, Red Country, and 230,000 for my longest, Last Argument of Kings (though still over twice the length of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, believe it or not). It’s set in a very different world with what you might call a viking or anglo-saxon feel. It’s much more focused, with a single point of view. It’s not so overtly ‘gritty’ although it’s a long way from smooth. It is punchy. It has drive. I aimed to deliver a slap in the face with every page.”
No word on the US rights, but those should come quickly. Abercombie has mentioned a July 2014 publication date as likely on both sides of the pond for Half a King with the sequels spread 6 month apart thereafter. The rub is the next First Law trilogy is still in the works, but we probably won't be seeing that until at least 2017, but there will be a short story collection of the First Law  in 2015 or 2016. It will be interesting to see how Abercrombie transitions his style to a younger set and if it can truly hold a candle for those of us who are use to Lord Grimdark.

The other big piece of news is according to  New Regency and Fox have have optioned  The Name of the Wind for a TV show.  Now don't hold your breathe too much on this as option often lapse, but Fox is in a period of growth splitting FX into two channels with the new FXX starting in the not too distant future though the credits of some involved don't impress me much. Still I'll be there in a heartbeat once it starts airing.

I'm honestly not sure which piece of news excites me more. More Joe Abercrombie fiction is always a good thing, but being able to see the characters that Rothfuss has brought so well to life on to the page being fully realized could be an amazing thing.

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A Few Cool Covers

A fresh batch of covers is making the rounds for Tor's Winter 2014 list. So now we can all salivate over books we can't get for more than six months!

Tor US cover
The VanderMeer's killed it with their magnus opus to strange short fiction with The Weird earlier this year and they hope to do the same with The Time Traveler's Alamanc coming out in March with 800 pages of glorious time jumping stories from over the last century or so. Those in the UK will be able to get it from the newish imprint Head of Zeus late this year, but I think the US wins the cover contest this go around.

On the heels of the World Fantasy Award winning The Weird, the next genre-defining anthology from award-winning team Ann and Jeff VanderMeer explores the popular world of time travel fiction 
The Time Traveler's Almanac is the largest, most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled. Gathered into one volume by intrepid chrononauts and world-renowned anthologists Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, this almanac compiles more than a century's worth of literary travels into the past and the future to reacquaint readers with beloved classics and introduce them to thrilling contemporary examples of the time travel genre.
Featuring over seventy journeys into time from Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, H. G. Wells, Connie Willis, Charles Yu, and many more, The Time Traveler's Almanac covers millions of years of Earth's history, from the age of the dinosaurs through to strange and fascinating futures.
In fact, The Time Traveler's Almanac will serve as a time machine of its very own: the ultimate treasury of time travel stories, spanning the distance from the beginning of time to its very end.

The Unwrapped Sky is Rjurik Davidson long await debut. I first heard about this book more than 2 years ago as the author has published a couple short and entirely weird short stories from the world of Caeli-Amur so I'm eager to see what a novel length work of his will read like. The cover is gorgeous and we'll be able to touch it come April.

A hundred years ago, the Minotaurs saved Caeli-Amur from conquest. Now, three very different people may hold the keys to the city's survival. 
Once, it is said, gods used magic to create reality, with powers that defied explanation. But the magic—or science, if one believes those who try to master the dangers of thaumaturgy—now seems more like a dream. Industrial workers for House Technis, farmers for House Arbor, and fisher folk of House Marin eke out a living and hope for a better future. But the philosopher-assassin Kata plots a betrayal that will cost the lives of godlike Minotaurs; the ambitious bureaucrat Boris Autec rises through the ranks as his private life turns to ashes; and the idealistic seditionist Maximilian hatches a mad plot to unlock the vaunted secrets of the Great Library of Caeli-Enas, drowned in the fabled city at the bottom of the sea, its strangeness visible from the skies above. 
In a novel of startling originality and riveting suspense, these three people, reflecting all the hopes and dreams of the ancient city, risk everything for a future that they can create only by throwing off the shackles of tradition and superstition, as their destinies collide at ground zero of a conflagration that will transform the world . . . or destroy it.>

I had never heard of The Goblin Emperor by the novel debuting Katherine Addison before I saw the cover, but it just looks like all kinds of crazy, which will be unleashed in April as well.
The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir. 
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment. 
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life. 
This exciting fantasy novel, set against the pageantry and color of a fascinating, unique world, is a memorable debut for a great new talent.

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GUEST POST | Ken Scholes on Libraries and Memory, Knowledge and Power

Art  by Marc Simonetti

I’ve always loved libraries…and librarians.

It started in my elementary school, even before I fell in love with reading. A room full of books – many of which had pictures! At first, it was just the picture books that drew me in but once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop. When I learned that there was an even bigger library than the one in my school, I was elated. I checked out as many books as I was allowed and churned through sometimes one or two books a day, and even more in the summer.

So around the time the time the writing bug bit me, I decided that a real writer should probably work in a library, surrounded by books. At the age of fourteen, I started showing up at the Enumclaw Public Library, filling out applications regularly even though the librarian told me (in a very friendly but quiet voice) that I had to be sixteen to work for the library. Still, I was back every so often to try again. For two years.

Persistence paid off and when I turned sixteen, I started working as a library page, shelving returned books and doing whatever odd jobs needed doing. It was Heaven. No fines for late books and at the front of the line for anything new and exciting to come in. And pick of the litter when it came to books being disposed of. I still have some ancient volumes of Shakespeare in my personal library from that time.

Yes, I’ve always loved libraries.

Which is why, on the first page of the first chapter of my first novel, I blew one up.

And somehow, despite this, the American Library Association put that first novel, Lamentation, on the RUSA Reading List for Best Fantasy.

Maybe it’s because of how seriously my protagonists took this devastating act of terror and the hole its destruction left in their world. Or maybe because re-building the library became an important aspect of the story. No matter the reasons, I’ve had a lot of support for the series from libraries and librarians and I’m glad for it.

When I conceived the notion of the Great Androfrancine Library, it was initially just the background for a short story. It wasn’t until I started stitching together the two stories that became the beginning and middle of Lamentation that I saw clearly the re-building of the library – or the notion of a hidden replica of the library. I was drawing a bit from the murky soup of history – the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, which is not quite as easy to pin down as legends would have us believe. That library appears to have gone through a series of events that eventually led, over time, to its loss. In reality, no one seems certain exactly what happened and when though speculation points widely to various events between approximately 50 BCE and 650 AD.

But in my world, I wanted it gone quickly, along with its Androfrancine keepers, and I wanted to explore how that kind of loss would play out while my characters sought to solve the puzzle of who destroyed Windwir and why. The “light” of human knowledge and accomplishment, dug painstakingly from the ruins of the Old World and stored away for safekeeping, suddenly snuffed out, and the glue that held a carefully monitored society of survivors suddenly burned away.

And there’s a deeper exploration there:  What happens when one group of people controls the flow of knowledge and what happens when another group takes away that knowledge?  Because knowledge is power but it is also memory.  And if you control or eliminate that memory, the river of history flows in favor of whichever group holds that power to impose their own recollection of how things are and should be.
As we progress deeper into the Psalms of Isaak, we see that it’s about much more than a destroyed library – it is about a sudden and unexpected war of cultures with blurry lines of motivation and intent on both sides.  And moreso, it is about how people react to those sudden, violent changes.

So like I said, I love libraries.  And librarians.  I think the world is a darker, colder place without what they do for us.  So I’ll try to go easier on them in my next series.  


KEN SCHOLES is the author of the acclaimed series The Psalms of Isaak, which comprises Lamentation, Canticle, Antiphon, and now Requiem.  He lives near Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Jen West Scholes, and their three-year-old twin daughters. Visit him on the web at

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New Procurements (Including Book Expo Swag)

My summer is already off to a busy start, but you know it is getting to be that season when Book Expo hits. I managed to spend a good chunk of Thursday and most of Friday at the Javits Center seeing what's on deck for the book industry for the next six months. I was a bit pickier than in years past in terms of the galley grabbing, but there was plenty to be had. I did have to back away from a couple giveaways as you don't want to get in the middle of a frothing mad librarian-bookseller galley grab fight. Trust me, you don't.

The biggest hit for me is that little number at the top which is Neil Gaiman's Fortunately, the Milk. My wife actually nabbed it and lo and behold it is signed. This indebted me to my wife, but I was able to balance the scales the next day by getting her a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's new novel The Signature of All Things. I only managed to go two signings the first of which was for Paolo Bacigalupi's Zombie Baseball Beatdown and managed to run into Jim C. Hines while leaving the line. The Bacigalupi's is his first middle grade novel which I'll give a read and pass on to my nephew who I got it signed to. Also, Bacigalupi's next adult novel The Water Knife has a finished second draft so we should see that pop-up in the next year or so. Paolo said they don't have a US publisher yet, but given his rise over the years I doubt he'll have a problem finding one here.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence is a coming of age story I've had my eye on and it is, I believe, the second release from the newest Hachette imprint Redhook. A couple years ago Alan Weisman's The World Without Us blew me away so I was quite glad to get a copy of Countdown, which is the flip side sequel exploring what humanity would need to do to survive on the planet long term. From Orbit I got Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson, his sort of historical novel about life 30,000 years ago and Mira Grant's Parasite, which is a start to a new series about parasitic symbyotes that cure all diseases, but want to be free. Necessary Errors by Caleb Crain is a debut about young expatriates in newly democratic Prague circa 1990. I already owned One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper, but since he was there singing I couldn't pass up getting a copy. My last grab was The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White which is about a shadowy group that has been around for a very longtime slowly changing the future in small ways. All in all a nice haul. The pile of books waiting for me at home wasn't bad either.

The first three in this stack were purchases. The Gist by Michael Marshall Smith is a lovely novella, which is  an interesting experiment. There is the original story then a French translation followed by a retranslation into English. Before you decry me for not having read The Princess Bride by William Goldman please know I have, just not in a very long time. But when I learned my wife had never read it I made it a point to get a copy for our library. I think I'll give it a read this summer as it is one of the most enchanting stories ever, in any form. I also had to get a copy of Martha Wells'Emile & the Hollow World. Had to I tell you. In the review copy department I received Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh, which I'm already devouring. It is fabulous so far and also one of the most beautiful packaging jobs I've seen this year. It is a paperback with a rice paper cover slipped over so the image bleeds through. Brilliantly done. Ecko Rising by Danie Ware is a cross genre novel not on my radar until I received the copy, but it sounds quite interesting:
In a futuristic London where technological body modification is the norm, Ecko stands alone as a testament to the extreme capabilities of his society. Driven half mad by the systems running his body, Ecko is a criminal for hire. No job is too dangerous or insane.

When a mission goes wrong and Ecko finds himself catapulted across dimensions into a peaceful and unadvanced society living in fear of 'magic', he must confront his own perceptions of reality and his place within it.

A thrilling debut, Ecko Rising explores the massive range of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and the possible implications of pitting them against one another.
Joyland is Stephen King much anticipated carnie themed mystery set in the 70's. I haven't read a King story in a few years, but just may dip into this one. Last, but certainly not least is Shift by Hugh Howey. I must admit for having fallen hard for Wool, but this prequel is making me a bit trepidacious as it could ruin everything that was setup. Still I can't help myself.

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Cover Unveiled for Dangerous Women edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardiner Dozois

Above is the cover for what to me is the most anticipated super-anthology of the year, Dangerous Women. I've already mentioned all the contributors, but seeing many of them listed there does give me goosebumps. Especially knowing how many of these will connect to the novel worlds of many of the writers. While I do like the general look, it looks a bit just too that--general, but then again so was Warrirors which this is a companion volume to. Maybe Tor was concerned with ending up with a chain mail bikini girl so they went safe. Still I would have thought this would have been a good opportunity to show a strong, dangerous woman on a Fantasy cover with out the awkward poses or unrealistic accouterments. Dangerous Women will be out in early December. Get your Christmas lists ready.

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New Procurements

Lot of good books have made it into the house. So many that I had to donate 4 bags of books to my local library this weekend. I'm sadly at the point where I have to make tough decisions every month about what books to keep, both old and new just to keep up with the flow. It is in a way a nice problem to have since when I was young I barely had any books to call my own that weren't school related. I was a library hound for many years so it is wonderful to have an amazing selection at hand. Anyway on with the new. Rather than discuss each book I'm just going to point out the ones I'm likely to read sooner than later. Also, if it is pictured here, but not mentioned don't take that as me not being interested. I want to read them I just know it won't be any time soon. Books I receive that I'm not very interested in go in the donation pile and don't get pictured.

The first 8 above are buys starting with the much lauded The Dog Stars by Peter Heller followed by the Demon Cycle mini-collection The Great Bazaar and Brayan's Gold by Peter V. Brett. The Brett collection is a UK only release, but the stories are available as eBooks readily in the US. Starslip Crisis Vol 1. I picked up signed by Kris Straub at PAX East this year. While at the comic shop I nabbed Manhattan Projects Vol 2. and Elric: The Balance Lost Vol 3. You is the sophomore novel from Austin Grossman, which is his love letter to video games and the people who make them.

The above are all review copies. Carniepunk started as a joke online that quickly tumbled into a full-blown theme anthology anchored by Urban Fantasy stars Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, and Rachel Caine. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson is one I've been looking forward to for a couple years now and is his YA debut. Two Serpents Rise is Max Gladstone's sequel to Three Parts Dead, which was one of my favorite debuts last year. Red Planet Blues is Robert J. Sawyer's detective noir on Mars. Max Barry's Lexicon will be read quite soon as well Zachary Jernigan's debut No Return. The Thousand Names by Django Wexler's debut and another read soon, but not officially out until June. I wasn't aware of Jeff Noon before I received these UK review copies, but his books sound too bonkers to pass by. Ari Marmell is the first to take on the Iron Kingdoms setting in novel form with In Thunder Forged. Iron Kingdoms is an RPG setting I've been interested in for a while as it combines magic and machines and epic battles. That's a recipe for fun.

I just finished reading The Great Bazaar by Peter Brett which was a nice treat and I'm now making my way through Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas, which is my firs Culture novel. So far it is slower and more brutal than I thought it would be, but it contains one of the best Prologue's in Space Opera I've ever read.

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INTERVIEW | Peter Higgins author of Wolfhound Century

Every once in a great while a new author bursts on to the scene that is so different from everything else being published I have to sit up and notice and shout a bit about it. This year that author is Peter Higgins with his debut Wolfhound Century. It is a strange novel to be sure, but that is its greatest strength. Think China Mieville with more of a Slavic Folklore bent, but with the speed of a LeCarre novel. If that sounds like a heady mix it is yet a good one and making it feel startlingly original. Higgins has published short fiction in such places as Asimov's Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine, but his novel was my first exposure to his work. It certainly won't be the last.


MH: Wolfhound Century is a dark, fast paced visage of a Russia that never was. But it is so much more than that. What is your barroom description of Wolfhound Century?

HIGGINS: If I’d just arrived in the bar, I’d say that Wolfhound Century is an SF-fantasy-thriller set in an immense totalitarian state, the kind that spies on and murders its own citizens, but it's also a world of giants and golems and sentient rain, with an alien presence deep in the endless forest. There are elements of Russian and central/northern European history, art and literature lurking beneath the surface, if you want to look for them.

If I’d been in the bar for a while, I’d say it was inspired by books like Gorky Park, but written by someone who’d read a lot of Gene Wolfe and John Crowley and the folklore of the endless Slavic forests, and had grown up in the Cold War, with a life-long attachment to the dark, extraordinary history of Soviet Russia. Someone who’d read Nabokov’s memoirs and random pages from the 1914 edition of Baedeker’s Russia. I might add that one of the root ideas is that painters like Chagall and Malevich weren’t painting abstract or fantastical parables, they were simply recording what they saw.

And if I was still there at closing time, I’d be talking about the archetypal 20th century struggle between, on the one hand, the totalitarian idea of the individual as an atom of the state, subjected and reduced by the overwhelming forces of history, party and state, and on the other hand, the conception of each and every human being as a huge and partly unconscious world of emotion, perception, imaginative potential and creative imagination. Then I’d have to get my coat and go home.

MH: What came first? The world, the angels, or Vissarion?

HIGGINS: The world came first, definitely, or rather, two worlds: a northern and central European world of slow rivers, birch forests, wintry Baltic shores, and that 20th century world of revolution and war, marching crowds and gulags and state police, writers and artists and composers and dissident intellectuals.

But it was when the detective, Vissarion Lom, came on the scene that the story really began to come together. A door opening. I saw that the book could be – needed to be – a thriller. And Lom, the decent policeman who realizes he’s working for an indecent regime, would have to confront the cruel realities of that regime. He meets a woman who works in a factory and wants to change the world, he’s opened up (quite literally), and he begins to explore the wilder, stranger extremes of his world. There’s potentially more in Lom’s future than being a detective. In some ways he’s like Severian, the wandering exile from the torturer’s guild in Gene Wolfe’s Book of the Long Sun. (The near-anagrammatical relationship between Severian and Vissarion isn’t accidental.)

The ‘angels’ are immense beings that fall out of the sky, dying or already dead, and their mined, abraded torsos litter the continent. The regime appropriates them as a justification for its mythology of itself: in a sense, it’s a parallel with the way totalitarian dictators claim to embody wider, universal forces, the inevitability of history. When one angel survives the fall and starts to reach out, to speak, to influence, some people want to listen. They want to subject themselves to the greater, more certain power. And the really dangerous ones think they might be able to use it …

MH: One of the themes I was struck by was the land fighting back for its very survival and you've given them avatars of a sort with the palubas. Which gives it a very Robert Holdstock vibe.

HIGGINS: I’m glad you mentioned Robert Holdstock! I’m a huge fan of Mythago Wood, and even more of the sequels like Lavyondyss and The Hollowing, where the things in the wood get wilder and more extreme. It’s astonishingly vivid and free and unconstrained writing. I find Holdstock’s imagination massively inspiring. The idea in Wolfhound Century that the world – not just the forest but the rain, the air, the mud, the rivers – are watchful, active and potentially dangerous, owes a huge amount to him.

So the forest in Wolfhound Century – its endlessness, the avatars that come out of it – is proudly Holdstock-ish. But Holdstock’s wood is very English: superficially, on the outside, it’s small, only a couple of miles across, and in a specific, almost-mappable English location. Only when you go in and get lost there do you learn how immense it is on the inside. It draws you in, dilates time. And nothing escapes from it: the mythagos that cross its borders soon fade. The forest in Wolfhound Century, on the other hand (like the forests of Russia and central Europe) really is huge. It dominates the psychic terrain. The regime tries to close the forest off and blind the people to it, but their cities are full of forest things. Forest presences. Forest influence. Several of the principal characters themselves have forest roots, which they grow more aware of and try to understand. And the forest asserts itself: it reaches out and participates. As you say, it fights back. Fangorn and the ents are in there somewhere.

That idea, that everything is alive, has other roots too. It’s central to shamanism, for example. It runs deep in the Russian, Nordic and central European forests and Siberia, and comes through in the folklore from there. That world view was still influential in 20th century Russia, and not just as a primitive relic. There’s a fantastic quote from Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the Cosmist who drove early Soviet thinking about the human colonisation of space and transhumanism:
‘There is no substance which cannot take the form of a living being. The simplest being is the atom. Therefore the whole universe is alive and there is nothing in it but life.’

This concept – panpsychism, sentient matter – shaped my thinking about the Wolfhound Century forest, and also about the angels: where they come from, what they’re made of, how they do what they do. And what unfettered or assisted human perception can tap into.

MH: With Wolfhound Century you've subverted Stalinist Russia as well as Slavic mythology, but this is clearly not the Russia we know. Possibly a deep past alternative history, but this world appears very much separated for ours. Are you worried that people will feel you've appropriated a culture? Have you had any feedback from Russian natives?

HIGGINS: No, I really don't feel like I've appropriated another culture.

As you say, in Wolfhound Century I’ve drawn on Russian history and culture. I haven’t taken them straight, I’ve re-imagined them and mixed them up with other things that aren't Russian. I’ve felt a responsibility to my sources and I’ve tried to write as well as I can. I'm very much aware that the history which my book stands sideways to was real – millions died and millions more had their lives ruined – and I've tried to let that awareness show through in Wolfhound Century. How far I've succeeded, whether I've always got it right, that's something for readers to make their own minds up about. It's not for me to say. But I’ve never worried that this book, the way I've written it, was trespassing across some kind of frontier into another culture's territory, and personally I don’t think the artists whose work I’ve drawn on – including writers like Mandelstam, Akhmatova, Pasternak and Nabokov, and painters like Chagall – would recognize that idea of their cultural separateness – those barriers of difference – either.

If I can give you one example of what I mean, Mandelstam was Russian but he wrote about Charles Dickens, Beethoven, Rome, the ancient Scottish poet Ossian, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul and Notre Dame in Paris. He saw continuity between ancient Greece and Russia: he said they met on the shores of the Black Sea. And he specifically denied the relevance of personal background to his work: of himself he wrote, 'it is enough to speak of the books he has read, and his biography is done'.

Other writers and artists I've drawn on maybe wouldn't use such stark terms as Mandelstam, but they all have the same deep involvement with a culture that goes way beyond Russia. They're part of a shared, complex, three-thousand-year old, wide-ranging, multi-linguistic, allusive tradition. It's one culture, modernist and frontierless, that may take account of local and national differences and inheritances but isn’t limited by them. And the precarious existence of that culture in a totalitarian state is part of the story Wolfhound Century is trying to tell, and it’s part of its way of trying to tell it.

I’m sitting at home at the moment, about 1300 miles from St Petersburg. The idea that, somewhere between here and there, there might exist a line of separation, a cultural and historical boundary drawn across Europe, doesn't feel right. That’s one of the reasons the Cold War was so cruel and why we celebrated when the wall came down. But even when the Cold War was at its height, we read books and listened to music and watched films from the territories of the Eastern Bloc.

I don’t know if maybe someone 1300 miles away from me in St Petersburg is writing an SF fantasy about a weird version of London during World War II, with a Prime Minister who’s a bit like Churchill and with writing that draws on Dickens or Virginia Woolf or Dylan Thomas. But I hope someone is. That would be awesome. And it would be fantastic if Wolfhound Century finds Russian readers. I'd love to know what they make of it. Of course, they’ll see that it’s not written in the same way that someone who lives in Russia would have written it. The imagined elements in it are my response to, my engagement with, Russia and what happened there, but it’s written from my perspective and it couldn’t be anything else.

MH: Do you have a favorite Russian folk tale? And if so did you integrate it into the Wolfhound Century in some form?

HIGGINS: Well, there’s a fantastic tradition of Russian folk tales. Sadko. Prince Ivan. Baba Yaga. The Fire Bird. The Snow Maiden. They’re part of the background to Wolfhound Century, certainly, they’re in the air: but in terms of integration into the story, they’re not really primary sources, as far as I’m consciously aware.

More specific sources were Siberian shamanism and the Slavic folklore of the wild forest. The palubas that come out of the forest and the wind-walker in the White Marshes are based on Slavic conceptions of wood spirits. I found a lot of material for the forest in a collection from 1918: The Mythology of All the Races, edited by Louis H Gray, particularly the Slavic and Finno-Ugric volumes. And the Pollandore and the mythology that surrounds its creation owe a fair amount to the story of the Sampo and other parts of the Kalevala from Finland.

MH: Wolfhound Century ended a bit abruptly. What made that a good breaking place and what can we look forward to with the sequel Truth and Fear?

HIGGINS: I thought you might ask me about the ending! There is a longer story arc and I wanted to leave Wolfhound Century with a sense of doors opening rather than closing, and - for the characters - a return to battle with a greater sense of who the enemies are and what's at stake. Not an ending, but a moment to take breath. Like Gene Wolfe, "Here I pause, having carried you, reader, from gate to gate......"
Truth and Fear, which is coming out early in 2014, widens the story out. I'm not going to say too much, but you'll see a lot more of the bad guys and what they're up to, and more about some of the things that were off-stage rumblings in Wolfhound Century, as well as other quarters of the city of Mirgorod and some new places on the continent.

And some new characters. And some big surprises. And a finish that'll knock your socks off and leave you wanting more ...

MH: What is the greatest advice you've even been given as a writer?

HIGGINS: "If someone tells you you’re doing too much of something in your work, then do it more, because that's your true voice."
A friend who's an artist told me that.

MH: Now on to the important issues. What is your favorite hat?

HIGGINS: For winter, a pull-on woolen cap: the acme is a Kangol Squad with a cuff. For rain and sun, a crushable bush hat in buffalo hide, easy to shove into a backpack. And for all seasons and all purposes except looking natty, there was my white canvas Tilley “Endurable” T3 Traditional, in many ways the finest of them all, which alas I seem to have lost.

MH: Sorry about the hatloss. Always remember a lost hat is never forgotten. I feel your pain having lost one of my old standbys last year. I also have a different hat for each season. Well, multiple hats for each season. Another important, life directing question: Scotch or beer?

HIGGINS: If I've just tramped twenty miles across Scottish moorland through mist and rain, then Scotch, but otherwise definitely beer.

MH: What books are you reading at the moment?

HIGGINS: Not for the first time, I'm making a determined attempt on the lower slopes of Gravity's Rainbow.

MH: That's a heavy one. I appreciate all your time. Is there anything you'd like to say to close us out?

HIGGINS: Just to say, thanks for inviting me to do this. It's been a lot of fun. I'll be lurking somewhere at World Fantasy Con 2013 in October if anyone wants to say hello.

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NEWS | Dangerous Women edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois gets a release date

News broke about George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois' next big anthology quite sometime ago, but a release date hadn't been set until just now. Dangerous Women will be released December of 2013, which should be just in time for Christmas. And what's better than original stories by Joe Abercrombie, Lev Grossman, and Brandon Sanderson to close out the the year? Well, only if we got a new Martin A Song of Ice and Fire story, which we do. It will cover the Targaryen civil war which has been mentioned a lot in the novels and Dunk & Egg stories, but little detail has been revealed. But don't confuse this with the Dunk & Egg stories as it takes place well before Egg was born. Here's part of Martin's announcement from a few months back that goes into more detail on some of the stories:
The Abercrombie is set against his RED COUNTRY backdrop, the Holland gives us Eleanor of Aquitaine, Jim Butcher returns us to Harry Dresden’s world, Lev Grossman contributes a tale of life at Brakebills, Steve Stirling revisits his Emberverse, Diana Gabaldon’s story features Jamie Fraser of OUTLANDER fame, the Spector is a Wild Cards story featuring Hoodoo Mama and the Amazing Bubbles, and mine own contribution… well, it’s some of that fake history I have been writing lo these many months, the true (mostly) story of the origins of the Dance of the Dragons. The stand-alone stories, not part of any series, feature some amazing work as well. For those who like to lose themselves in long stories, the Brandon Sanderson story, the Diana Gabaldon story, the Caroline Spector story, and my “Princess and Queen” are novellas. Huge mothers.
Here’s the table of contents…
  • “Some Desperado” by Joe Abercrombie
  • “My Heart Is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott
  • “Nora’s Song” by Cecelia Holland
  • “The Hands That Are Not There” by Melinda Snodgrass
  • “Bombshells” by Jim Butcher
  • “Raisa Stepanova” by Carrie Vaughn
  • “Wrestling Jesus” by Joe R. Lansdale
  • “Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm
  • “I Know How To Pick ‘em” by Lawrence Block
  • “Shadows For Silence In The Forests Of Hell” by Brandon Sanderson
  • “A Queen In Exile” by Sharon Kay Penman
  • “The Girl In The Mirror” by Lev Grossman
  • “Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress
  • “City Lazarus” by Diana Rowland
  • “Virgins” by Diana Gabaldon
  • “Hell Hath No Fury” by Sherilynn Kenyon
  • “Pronouncing Doom” by S.M. Stirling
  • “Name The Beast” by Sam Sykes
  • “Caretakers” by Pat Cadigan
  • “Lies My Mother Told Me” by Caroline Spector
  • “The Princess And The Queen” by George R.R. Martin
December can't get here soon enough.

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GUEST POST | Industrialization in Epic Fantasy by Brian McClellan

The Industrial Revolution was a time of great change in our history. There were immense technological breakthroughs as well as wave after wave of political and social reform. The class system was breaking down and kings were being pulled from their thrones. Unprecedented economic growth swept across large parts of the world.

This most important of times in human history is often either maligned or ignored by epic fantasy.

The precedent for this seems to have been set by Tolkien. In his Lord of the Rings series, industrialization and technological advancement only seems to happen among the orcs. This is portrayed very well in the film where we can see great clouds of toxic pollution hanging over Mordor, and in Sarumon's lands he tears down the ancient forests to fuel and make room for belching factories to arm his Uruk-hai.

Tolkien focuses on the negative aspects of the industrialization, and why wouldn't he? During the Industrial Revolution people were crammed into dirty, overpopulated cities. Streets overflowed with trash and raw sewage. Rivers became toxic with the filthy runoff. Mining and logging on a large scale destroyed the countryside. All of this industrialization created a world in which it was possible to equip armies for world wars—a fact that Tolkien saw first hand.

There are plenty of others who focus on the disadvantages of technological progress in their epic fantasy. The starkest of these are post-apocalyptic epic fantasy; these are fantasy worlds that take place on a future Earth after nuclear war. Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire trilogy is one example, while Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman's Death Gate Cycle is another. In these worlds we see the ultimate endgame of industrialization—near annihilation.

In Promise of Blood, I wanted to treat the Industrial Revolution differently. Not as the means of evil, as Tolkien did, or advancement toward a nuclear holocaust, but as the simple wheels of progress. There is no inherent evil in industrialization—only what man decides to do with the results.

So I asked the question. "What place does magic have in an industrializing world?" The answer I found: a big one.

In my novels, the old school of magic—the Privileged with their elemental sorcery—are deeply entrenched in the nobility of the world. Along with the nobility they oppose this new rising middle class of capitalists and the factories and unions that come with them. At the same time they don't mind getting rich off the backs of the working man, or the canal being built over the mountains that will enable the import of more luxury goods.

The new powder mages, with their sorcery based on gunpowder, embrace industrialization. How better to produce more gunpowder and flintlocks? Factories help the Adran army become the best equipped among all the Nine Nations. The greater population density of the cities make it easier to find and recruit more powder mages.

Then there's the Knacked and their talents. The sorcery of the commoners is turned to whatever use they can find for it. Inspector Adamat uses his perfect memory to aid in his investigations. Olem becomes Field Marshal Tamas' bodyguard because he doesn't need sleep. The commoners adapt. They use their magic to better themselves in an increasingly complicated world.

There are some that might argue that industrialization takes the "epic" out of "epic fantasy." They might say that writing in this time period goes against the whole spirit of the genre. I don't agree. I think there are magic and heroes, good and evil, adventure and intrigue to be found in an industrial world and that the Industrial Revolution opens up a whole new set of possibilities for epic fantasy. Magic does not fade with technological advancement. It adapts along with the people that use it.


Brian McClellan lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife, two dogs, a cat, and between 6,000 and 60,000 honey bees (depending on the time of year). He began writing on Wheel of Time role playing websites at fifteen. Encouraged toward writing by his parents, he started working on short stories and novellas in his late teens. He went on to major in English with an emphasis on creative writing at Brigham Young University. It was here he met Brandon Sanderson, who encouraged Brian’s feeble attempts at plotting and characters more than he should have. Brian continued to study writing not just as an art but as a business and was determined this would be his life-long career. He attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Bootcamp in 2006. In 2008, he received honorable mention in the Writers of the Future Contest. In November 2011, PROMISE OF BLOOD and two sequels sold at auction to Orbit Books. It is due out in April of 2013. More info can be found on his website or on twitter.

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Meet's Newest Contributor: ME!

This is something I've been keeping under my hat for over a month. I'll be running The Way of Kings Reread for! It is a gargantuan task that I hope I'm up to. This is one of the secret projects I've mentioned before. The intro post is up and my first chapter post should be going up on the 28th with a new one to follow every Thursday. So join me in the discussion as we try to make sense of Roshar and by extension the mind of Brandon Sanderson. It should be a hoot and a half.

Also, Tor is running a special on the eBook of The Way of Kings for $2.99 as well as a contest for print copies.

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Mad Hatter's Reading Log - August to December

I'm posting this just in the interest of keeping my reading log up-to-date, but as this goes down my commentary gets shorter.


66. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff - After a very boring first 100 pages of mostly walking around and explaining the world things finally took a turn for the better in this Steampunk quasi-Japanese influenced tale of a young girl facing off an entire nation with a griffin. Don't let the griffin part throw you off, he's much cooler than you'd think. Think Saphira only with more rage. What Stromdancer does well it excels at (fight sequences, window dressings such as the chainsaw katanas) and what it doesn't do well really shows (such as the use of the Japanese language at odd points and mutilated mythology). Granted this isn't trying to be a true to form Japanese Fantasy like Lian Hearn's work.  Even amid all the problems I enjoyed Kristoff's opening salvo in the Lotus War trilogy. Fans of classic Fantasy who are looking for a bit of Steampunk accents thrown in would enjoy this, but don't expect something deeper.
67. "Devil in the Dollhouse" by Richard Kadrey - The first Sandman Slim short story takes us to what is considered the backwater of Hell. The ending felt off since it negates everything that happens, but damn if that wasn't a fun ride.
68. "Box of Devotion" by Anthony Huso - If you've been on the fence about trying Huso's The Last Page and it's sequel Black Bottle then please check out this short which shows off his considerable writing skills in a compact form. Yes, it is a side story from Black Bottle, but you needn't have read it to enjoy it on more than one level. Recommended.
69. Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey - I stand amazed that Kadrey has been keeping this series at such high level with blistering action and one of the best anti-heroes of the last decade. He is still holding out on us on the Aelita confrontation though.
70. Irredeemable vol 8 & 9 by Mark Waid - It is over and got a bit convoluted towards the end to the point I wish I stopped a bit sooner. But I needed closure. Sigh.
71. The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett - A couple years back I read Bennett's Mr. Shivers and found it to be more than decent, but not my cup of tea. The Troupe on the other hand feels like one of those book tailored to my taste. Believable yet odd setting: check. Endearing yet aloof characters: check. Genuinely original mythology: BIG CHECK. For me this came off as a period American Gods only it was even more epic towards the end. Vaudeville, evil monsters, dark family secrets. Just bliss. Highly recommended. This is also my book of the year.
72. The Twelve by Justin Cronin - Even though it didn't live up to the promise set forth in The Passage Cronin's characters are some of most magnetic and well-drawn people. Things escalate, however slowly and in more telegraphed ways. Recommended, especially if you devoured the first.
73. The Maze Runner by James Dasher - Decent YA Dystopian, but I finished without a urge to continue with the series as the ending was completely opaque to me. Anyone have an opinion on whether I should continue on to The Scorch Trials?
74. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison - This bittersweet story centers on a man who has lost everything and has given up searching for a new life. Driven by the need to pay his bills he turns to becoming a caregiver to a young man with muscular dystrophy. At times heart wrenching and other times laugh-out-loud. Recommended
75. Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - Secrets codes in books, a book cult, and genius use of tech that is on our doorsteps made this a very fun read with an ending that lost the push the rest of the novel had.Highly recommended.
76. Ex-Patriots by Peter Clines - This is the sequel to the Zombie/Superhero mash-up Ex-Heroes. It wasn't as strong as the first book, but still a good time. Recommended. I'll be checking out the third book when it is released.
77. Trapped by Kevin Hearne - The fifth in the Iron Druid series. I'm more than a little bit smitten with Atticus and Granuaile. So if you've been on the sidelines with the series try the first out as the whole series has been on an even level. Highly recommend.


78. The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks - Even better than The Black Prism and the series veers away from a more predictable path. Highly recommended for Epic Fantasy fans.
79. Two Ravens and One Crow by Kevin Hearne - The author refers to this novella as Iron Druid 4.5. Recommended.
80. The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams - This goes in the unexpected book of the year category. Who knew Williams detailed Fantasy skills would translate so well to an Detective Noir Urban Fantasy? Really well done and I can't wait for the next volume.
81. The Boolean Gate by Walter Jon Williams - This is almost a brief history lesson about Sam Clemens and Nikola Tesla with great touches of New York City history. Is Telsa a mad man not working under his own power? Will Sam get his thousand island dressing? You have to read to find out.
82. The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers - Taken as part of the whole of the Zamonia novels this is the only tedious volume to date. I'm hopeful it gets better because this is the first part in a duology that the next volume something actually happens.


83. The Kingmakers by Clay & Susan Griffith - The third and final volume of the Vampire Empire closes out things very strongly. Series highly recommended. It feels pulpy yet modern with a tinge of romance.
84. Savage Worlds: Explorers Edition - Gaming is afoot! This is a new RPG system for me so I've been studying up.
85. John Dies at the End by David Wong - Like the Evil Dead bucket loads? Then you'll love this. I also bought the sequel before I finished this, which should say a bit all on its own. Very twisted, funny Horror. Highly recommended.
86. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson - Recommended and also a good introduction to Sanderson's writing with an Asiatic bent.
87. Sundiver by David Brin - A classic with loads of good ideas. Recommended and I hope to continue with the series in 2013.
88. Rapture by Kameron Hurley - Simply bad-ass. I love this series and this volume gives us plenty of closure. Highly recommended.


89. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie - An all-star cast from the world of the First Law is a fan's delight. It is not nearly as strong as Best Served Cold, but still one of the strongest Fantasy releases of 2012.
90. The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi - If you thought The Quantum Thief was a bit of a mindfuck then you haven't seen anything yet. All though very confusing at times I fell hard for what Rajaniemi is doing to Science Fiction. Recommended.
91. The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde - Fforde has brought the series back to form after the last volume left me disappointed. It also seems the series is coming to a close, which is probably the way to go.
92. Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck - A gorgeous collection. The best of the year and perhaps the best of the last 10 years. Dark, strange, beguiling. Buy it.
93. Cold Days by Jim Butcher - See short review here.
94. Santiago by Mike Resnick - A bit too slow for my liking given I went in with high expectations as it is supposed to be a forebearer to Firefly. The Western/outlaw in space feel is definitely there though. Recommended with reservations.
95. Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach - A very well told story, but the characters felt too detached. Yet there is something about this story that has stayed with me. Recommended.
96. The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest - One of the most "fun" books in the Clockwork Century series this time with a more YA friendly tone and character POV. And again a revisit to Seattle and many characters from the past with big things lurking in the fog. A nice close off to the Seattle storyline overall, but I'm at the point where I want to see what else is going on in this world. Recommended.
97. Osama by Lavie Tidhar - I think Tidhar was channeling Philip K. Dick in this reality bending pulp fiction. A very impressive read that is sure to create controversy and discussion. Recommend.
98. The Siren Depths by Martha Wells -  This the third book of the Raksura has cemented Wells' work as a staple on my shelves from now on. Highly recommended for those wanting an exciting and original Fantasy novel.


99.  City of Hope and Shadow by Ian Whates - I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy so much (City of Dreams and Nightmares), but second and this, the last volume, never entirely took off further for me. I just kept wishing more more of that discovery magic that happened with the first.
100. Becalmed by Kristin Kathryn Rusch - The latest in the Diving Universe series is actually a prequel on how a certain ship became stuck. Recommended.
101. Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timoty Zahn -See review here.
102. Among Others by Jo Walton - A gorgeous novel about a troubled young girl's experience with books, making friends, and leaving the past behind with some magic thrown in. Highly recommended.
103. Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell - This was a reread as I wanted to get to the rest of the series. It is still a wonderfully big Sci-Fi adventure with a diverse cast. Cyborgs, gruesome aliens, and warring cultures. Good stuff. Highly recommended.
104. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig - Our favorite foul-mouthed death-predicting vixen Miriam Black returns and this time she's going back to private school. Hilarity and death ensue. Highly recommended.
105. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone - Apparently I saved one of the best debuts for last. I was at first put off by the premise of a magic system designed along the lines of the legal system, but this world is so different from common Fantasy I was left wanting for more. Highly recommended.

So that was a lot to cover at once. Hopefully my next update won't be so long in the tooth. It was a heck of year of reading. Check here for my year end best of in case you missed it.

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