Friday, December 30, 2011

lists

Friday, December 30, 2011 6
There isn't much of a question that I've been a bad blogger lately, but I've been thinking about end of year lists that I enjoy doing every year.  There really isn't much chance that I'm going to get them out today or tomorrow, but I do hope to get them in the first week or two of January.  That seems reasonable.

So, just something to look forward to. 

Monday, December 05, 2011

Pelland and Bear

Monday, December 05, 2011 0
There is news.  More or less.

Elizabeth Bear has news:
This is probably a good time to mention that Subterranean will be doing an e-collection of all the previously uncollected New Amsterdam stories, including “Almost True,” “The Tricks of London,” “Twilight,” and “Underground,” and either one or two new ones, depending on how many pages it takes me to dispatch my ideas.

I also may or may not have sold “Faster Gun,” the story frequently known as “John Henry Holiday Is Sick Of These Time Traveling Assholes,” to Tor.com, but I can’t actually tell you until they send me a contract. Ahem.

There may also be some good news on the horizon regarding a short story collection, but until paperwork is signed, that’s all I can tell you about that.
Starting from the top (which is actually the second paragraph from Bear's post) - Great news, and I may have to pick it up despite my disinterest in ebooks if there are new stories in it.  I've the chapbooks for "The Tricks of London" and "Twilight", and will get "Underground" when I order up the limited edition of ad eternum (which I should really do soon).  On the other hand, I'd love a print edition of this e-collection.  Because I like print editions of awesome stuff.

Bear's last two Tor.com stories were "The Horrid Glory of Its Wings" (review) and "The Girl Who Sang Rose Madder" (review).  Both were excellent, so should that mystical contract arrive, I very much look forward to reading "Faster Gun".  But then, I tend to very much enjoy reading anything that Bear writes, be it novel or short fiction.

Which brings us to the third quoted paragraph.  I've been hoping for a new collection for some time now, but it's kind of like talking about a new Promethean Age novel - I want what I probably can't have and it's completely out of Bear's hands.  So, here's hoping that we catch the horizon for this one.


In Jennifer Pelland news: The first chapter of her debut novel Machine is up for reading over at Apex.  I've been looking for this one since I first learned of the sale.  I absolutely adore her short fiction and can't wait to read Machine. 

As such, I am not going to read the first chapter.  I want to wait until I can read the whole thing at once.  You can also buy the book.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Night Shade Books: One Year Later

Thursday, December 01, 2011 0
So often we focus on the big story of the day, but then never think to find out what happens after the spotlight has shifted to another "Big Story of the Day".  When I say "we", I place myself at the forefront of "we".  This is fairly normal, I think. 

The thing is, the follow up is also part of the story and if we were interested enough to engage with the original story, we should engage in checking back in to see if there is any resolution. 

What brings this up is that Rose Fox posted an update to last year's Night Shade situation

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, check out Post 1 and Post 2.  As a result, the SFWA placed Night Shade Books on a one year probation to give them the chance to get their act together. 

According to the SFWA, they did.  Probation has been lifted and Night Shade remains a qualifying market for authors.  See Rose Fox's post for the full SFWA letter regarding this.

Awesome. 

I have long been a fan of the work Night Shade publishes and I'm glad that the issues were able to be resolved, though I'm still saddened that they ever had to occur in the first place. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Boneshaker: The Movie!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 1
Holy shit, y'all. 

So, you know Boneshaker, that fantastic novel from Cherie Priest which featured an alternate America where the Civil War stretched into the 1880's and had a steampunk flair to it? 

If your answer to that question is "no", then go read the book! 

If your answer is "hell yeah!", then you may be as excited as I am (though not as excited as Cherie) that the film rights to Boneshaker has been sold

A huge congratulations go out to Cherie Priest.  I've been a fan of Priest's work for a while now and I am absolutely thrilled at her continued success in general and this sale in particular.  Good on her.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brain Pickings: My New Favorite Everything

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 2
Holy crap, people.  I don't know if I'm the last person on Earth to discover this, but thanks to the Magic of the Internet* I now know of Brain Pickings, a website of sheer awesomeness and the work of Maria Popova.

*(at this time the role of The Internet will be played by Tobias Buckell on Twitter)

About Brain Pickings:


Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.
 
...

Brain Pickings is your LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces across art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, you-name-itology. Pieces that enrich your mental pool of resources and empower you to combine them into original concepts that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful — a modest, curiosity-driven exercise in vision- and mind-expansion. Please enjoy.

Or, as I described it elsewhere, Brain Pickings is a website which compiles all the coolest smart shit that I never would have known about, and then TELLS ME ABOUT IT!

For example, I want to know more about The Physics Book, color theory, and this.  And everything.

So much of what I read here pushes me into another digression, to another post, and to another fascinating subject.  It's all stuff that I didn't know I was interested in.  Until I was.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Six: Table of Contents

Sunday, November 27, 2011 2
Jonathan Strahan has announced the Table of Contents for the sixth volume in his consistently excellent survey of the Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. 

Introduction, Jonathan Strahan
The Case of Death and Honey, Neil Gaiman, (A Study in Sherlock)
The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees, E. Lily Yu, (Clarkesworld, 4/11)
Tidal Forces, Caitlín R Kiernan, (Eclipse Four)
Younger Women, Karen Joy Fowler, (Subterranean, Summer 2011)
White Lines on a Green Field , Catherynne M. Valente, (Subterranean, Fall 2011)
All That Touches The Air, An Owomoyela, (Lightspeed Magazine, 4/11)
What We Found, Geoff Ryman, (F&SF, 9-10/11)
The Server and the Dragon, Hannu Rajaniemi, (Engineering Infinity)
The Choice, Paul McAuley, (Asimov‘s, 1/11)
Malak, Peter Watts, (Engineering Infinity)
Old Habits, Nalo Hopkinson, (Eclipse Four)
A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong, K. J. Parker, (Subterranean, Winter 2011. )
Valley of the Girls, Kelly Link, (Subterranean, Spring 2011)
Brave Little Toaster, Cory Doctorow, (TRSF)
The Dala Horse, Michael Swanwick, (Tor.com, 7/11)
The Corpse Painter’s Masterpiece, M Rickert, (F&SF, 9-10/11)
The Paper Menagerie, Ken Liu, (F&SF, March/April 2011)
Steam Girl, Dylan Horrocks, (Steampunk!)
After the Apocalypse, Maureen F. McHugh, (After the Apocalypse)
Underbridge, Peter S. Beagle, (Naked City)
Relic, Jeffrey Ford, (The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities)
The Invasion of Venus, Stephen Baxter, (Engineering Infinity)
Woman Leaves Room, Robert Reed, (Lightspeed Magazine, 3/11)
Restoration, Robert Shearman, (Everyone’s Just So So Special)
The Onset of a Paranormal Romance, Bruce Sterling, (Flurb, Fall-Winter 2011)
Catastrophic Disruption of the Head, Margo Lanagan, (The Wilful Eye: Tales from the Tower Vol. 1)
The Last Ride of the Glory Girls, Libba Bray, (Steampunk!)
The Book of Phoenix (Excerpted from The Great Book) , Nnedi Okorafor, (Clarkesworld, 3/11)
Digging, Ian McDonald, (Life on Mars)
The Man Who Bridged the Mist, Kij Johnson, (Asimov’s, 10-11/11)
Goodnight Moons, Ellen Klages, (Life on Mars)

In an interesting twist for me, I haven't read a single story collected here - even though a number of them are available online.  That's what happens when a fellow is away for a number of months.  As such, I am doubly looking forward to this volume. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yellow Guys

Saturday, November 26, 2011 0
Yellow guys do not just happen.  Yellow guys are not in my life.  Yellow guys do not just emerge out of thin air.  Yellow guys are in the movies.  Yellow guys are not real.  Yellow guys are for Chernobyl, not Clarence.  Why don't I have a yellow suit?  I do not have a yellow suit.  I quite clearly need a yellow suit.


This is a paragraph from very early on in Anne Ursu's first novel, Spilling Clarence.  I want to quote pages and pages of it,  but I love this paragraph the most.  I love the repetition (as I do).  I love how that repetition builds a sort of quasi-calm terror. 

Excuse me, I must continue reading.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anne McCaffrey

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 0
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes away, gone unansweréd.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together?
Leaving Weyrs to wind and weather?
Setting heardbeasts free of tether?
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?
Have they flown to some new Weyr
Where cruel Thread some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh, why, the empty Weyr?

-"The Question Song", Dragonflight

Anne McCaffrey passed away yesterday.  My childhood is sad. 


I started this paragraph four times, but I can't quite come up with the words to describe just how influential Anne McCaffrey was in my early reading of speculative fiction.  The Dragonriders of Pern was a seminal series in my life.  McCaffrey's blending of what initially seemed to be a fantasy series with a growing amount of science fiction was fascinating.  But, just as much, I loved the three Crystal Singer novels and wished she would write more - even though the story there was complete.  I just wanted more.  So often, that's what McCaffrey left her readers: wanting more of a damn good story. 

Anne McCaffrey was 85 when she died

Others will write about Anne McCaffrey with greater eloquence than what I am able to do.  There will be tributes and memorials and remembrances.  There should be.  McCaffrey was one of the legends of the genre.  Her fiction was what introduced so many readers to science fiction and instilled a lifelong love of the genre.

From io9:
Anne McCaffrey wasn't just the inventor of Pern, the world where a whole society is based on dragon-riding. She was also an incredibly influential author who helped transform the way science fiction and fantasy authors wrote about women, and the way all of us thought about bodies and selfhood. She was the first woman to win a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award, as well as a Grand Master of science fiction.

I don't know if it is really possible to overstate McCaffrey's importance in science fiction, to the readers, to the writers, to the genre as a whole.  To me. 

These last few hours I have been filled with a profound sadness at the world's loss of Anne McCaffrey.  While there is no taking away the experience of reading McCaffrey for the first time and for the adventures I had with her stories, I mourn the loss of the one who introduced me to Pern and Ballybran, to Lessa, Menolly, and Killashandra Ree. 

Goodnight, Anne McCaffrey.  Thank you for the stories and for enriching my childhood. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kitty's Big Trouble, by Carrie Vaughn

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 0
I want to catch up on some of the books I've read during the last four months. I won't be able to write in depth about most of these books because it's been too long. This may be more of a series where I talk about what I think about when I think about these books. If that makes sense.

This is the third in that series of posts.


I read Kitty's Big Trouble back in July. I've been reading Carrie Vaughn for the last five years and Vaughn has maintained my interest and excitement from the first book. Kitty's Big Trouble is the ninth novel in the series and continues Vaughn's expansion of the scope of Kitty's world.

Kitty's Big Trouble opens with Kitty's belief that William Tecumseh Sherman was really a werewolf and her investigation into that, but it extends into San Francisco to get deeper into the looming war with Roman and is minions. Vaughn explores the depth of what Kitty (and the reader) knows of the supernatural in this world.

After all these months, what I most want to convey about Kitty's Big Trouble is that there is no drop in quality in this ninth Kitty Norville novel. Vaughn continues to deliver a fast paced, entertaining story which builds what the reader knows of the world while not neglecting the ever developing characterization of all the recurring characters.

When I stop to think about it, Kitty's Big Trouble reads as an episode in a television series. The novel itself is a singular episode which tells a particular story and has a beginning, middle, and end. Carrie Vaughn puts the story first and doesn't fail to tell a good one. But, the novel also succeeds in the context of the larger Kitty Norville series. Kitty Norville is not a static character, but rather develops based on experience. The Kitty readers met back in Kitty and the Midnight Hour is not the same Kitty in these more recent novels, though the journey is clear. Bit by bit, Carrie Vaughn explores this world which seems so similar to our own, if not for the presence of the supernatural. Kitty, like the readers, have only scratched the surface of what all is out there. This is the heart of the sense of discovery in the Kitty Norville series. Through the “Adventure of the Week” stories, Vaughn works the larger thematic, character, and overall series arcs to deliver a multi-layered experience.

Or: It's just good, y'all.

Kitty Steals the show is due out in Spring 2012.


Previous Reviews
Kitty and the Midnight Hour
Kitty Goes to Washington
Kitty Takes a Holiday
Kitty and the Silver Bullet
Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
Kitty Raises Hell
Kitty's House of Horrors
Kitty Goes to War

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spaceman!

Monday, November 14, 2011 0
So, I was looking for some new comics to put on my reading list and I happened across this post on MTV.com.  It's not where I normally would have thought to check, but I'll be damned if there's not some good looking stuff on that page. 

A number of books haven't been collected yet and some are just beginning (Xenoholics, anyone?), but what caught my eye was something called Spaceman. 

Spaceman is written by Brian Azzarello and drawn by Eduardo Risso.  That's all I really needed to know.  You should know Azzarello from the hella ambitious 100 Bullets, or from a number of other comics, but really - 100 Bullets. 

The AV Club has a very recent interview with Azzarello.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reading: Kelly Barnhill and Anne Ursu

Sunday, November 13, 2011 0
I went to a reading today.  It's not something I do very often, but each time I do I am reminded that I really should do this more often. 

Kelly Barnhill and Anne Ursu were reading at The Loft.  I've known Kelly for a few years now and I've enjoyed her short fiction for just as long, but Anne Ursu was new to me.  Like, never heard of her before new.  But, thanks to the magic of the internet (and Kelly raving about her on Facebook), I was intrigued about the other half of the reading.

Kelly read from her debut novel The Mostly True Story of Jack.  I've heard Kelly read before, but never from her novel (it did just come out this year, after all).  Friggin delightful.  If the rest of the book is as good as what she read, I'm in for a treat.  But then, I figured as much. 

Speaking of being in for a treat...

Anne Ursu. 

I had never heard of Anne Ursu before.  I've heard of her now. 

Ursu was funny, charming, and self deprecating all at the same time.  That's before she started reading from her latest novel, Breadcrumbs.  Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen", the portions of Breadcrumbs Ursu read stoked my interest in checking out the rest of the book (and Ursu's other novels, for that matter).  Unlike Kelly's book, I don't already own a copy of Breadcrumbs.  That would be silly.  I hadn't heard of Ursu before.  But, it shall be read. 

Neither Kelly Barnhill nor Anne Ursu had to use their AK.  Today was a good day.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

New Brin!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011 0
A big thank you to Adam Whitehead for pointing out that David Brin has a new novel due out in 2012.  I haven't read Brin in years, nor has he published a novel in almost a decade.  It's high time both change.

Whitehead reports the cover blurb is as follows:

Bestselling, award-winning futurist David Brin returns to globe-spanning, high concept SF.

As he did in his New York Times bestselling novel Earth, David Brin takes on the rapidly accelerating rate of change in technology in a very human way.

Telepresence. The neural link world wide web, where a flash crowd can gather in an instant if something interesting is happening. We see it today--one man in Pakistan live-tweets the assault on Osama bin Laden, and the whole world turns to watch. A revolution in Egypt is coordinated online.

Into the maelstrom of world-wide shared experience drops a game-changer. An alien artifact is plucked from Earth's orbit; an artifact that wants to communicate. News leaks out fast, and the world reacts as it always does: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence.

Existence is packed with tension, with characters we care about in danger that seems unstoppable. It is a novel brimming with ideas about the future, and how humanity will--must--adapt to it. This is a big book from David Brin, and everyone is going to be talking about it.

Want. To. Read.
Now.

Oh, and it seems Brin has a short story in Lightspeed titled "Bubbles".  I'll go read that, too.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Publisher's Weekly Best Books of 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011 0
Via Rose Fox at Genreville

Publisher's Weekly has named its Best Books of 2011.  Below is a selection, but head on over to PW to see all the lists.  Looks like an interesting list of stuff I should like to read.

SF/F/H
Zoo City, by Lauren Buekes
Triptych, by J. M. Frey
Unpossible, by Daryl Gregory
Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Vol. 1, by Caitlín R. Kiernan
Erekos by A.M. Tuomala



Top Ten Overall
The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Devil All the Time, by Donald Ray Pollock
State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett
After the Apocalypse, by Maureen F. McHugh
Bossypants, by Tina Fey
Catherine the Great, by Robert K. Massie
There but for the, by Ali Smith
Hemingway's Boat, by Paul Hendrickson
One Day I Will Write About This Place, by Binyavanga Wainaina
Arguably: Essays, by Christopher Hitchens

I haven't read any of these.  I'm a huge fan of Ann Patchett's work and I've been following Eugenides since The Virgin Suicides.  I have no clue how I didn't know he had a new novel out.  Also, Daryl Gregory tends to be fantastic.  I haven't read his new novel OR this new collection.  Sigh.  So much to read.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

The Outback Stars, by Sandra McDonald

Saturday, November 05, 2011 3
I want to catch up on some of the books I've read during the last four months. I won't be able to write in depth about most of these books because it's been too long. This may be more of a series where I talk about what I think about when I think about these books. If that makes sense.

First up was David Gemmell's Legend.

Next up is The Outback Stars, by Sandra McDonald. I read this at the end of September.


Sandra McDonald described The Outback Stars and its two sequels as “sf military romances” and, well, fair enough. That aspect is certainly present in The Outback Stars. The more I think about that description, the better it fits. The Outback Stars is all three, with no one part of that overwhelming the others.

From the back cover:

Lieutentant Jodenny Scott is a Hero. She has the medals to prove it – and the scars.

She's cooling her heels on Kookaburra, recovering from the fiery loss of her last ship, the Yangtze, and she's bored – so bored, in fact, that she takes a berth on the next ship out. That's a mistake. The Aral Sea isn't anyone's idea of a get-well tour.

Jodenny's handed a division full of misfits, incompetents, and criminals. She thinks she can handle it. She's wrong. Aral Sea isn't a happy ship. And it's about to get a lot unhappier.

What I think about when I think about The Outback Stars is the interpersonal drama of The Aral Sea, Jodenny's struggle to bring a sense of military discipline and decorum back to her new unit and how she is undermined by others who should be leaders. McDonald goes much deeper than that, in the end, but the day to day struggle of Lt Scott was the core of what worked best for me. McDonald herself is a former Navy officer and that working knowledge of the day to day life of a junior officer comes through in her writing. She isn't writing dry military minutiae, either. There is real conflict that is core to the story being told in the novel. It works.

There really isn't a weak aspect of the novel. The SF, military, and romantic elements of The Outback Stars all come together to tell a singular story which I really didn't want to end. Fantastic novel and one which I wish I didn't wait so long to read. The Outback Stars was one of those novels that was on my list of books I'll get to “sometime soon”. Sometime soon became several years. Now I only need not to wait so long to read the sequel. Very good stuff here.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Legend, by David Gemmell

Thursday, November 03, 2011 0
I want to catch up on some of the books I've read during the last four months. I won't be able to write in depth about most of these books because it's been too long. This may be more of a series where I talk about what I think about when I think about these books. If that makes sense.

First up is a book that I read in mid-September: Legend, by David Gemmell

People have tried to get me to pick up Legend for years now. Every few months there would be a comment here insisting that I give the book a shot because I am sure to love it. We'll see. I might not have picked it up but I was in a situation where the only real access I had to books was a rare trip to a Half Priced Books and hope they have something decent. The result of one of those trips included Legend. Without much else to read and with the novel priced at $3, why not?

Originally published in 1984, Legend is a specific type of epic fantasy: which is to say, the ultra-heroic type where the hero is a hero and always does what is right and is capable of great feats. When I wrote about James Barclay's Chronicles of the Raven trilogy, I mentioned that I considered the Raven novels to be something of a bridge between quest fantasies of the 80's / 90's and the modern quest fantasies. Though I didn't realize it at the time, Legend is the beginning of that conversation of how that epic fantasy storytelling would shift.

Had Gemmell written about “Druss the Legend” earlier in the character's life, we would have been given a story of heroic feats of a young man at the height of his powers. There would have been a sense of obviousness in the story. Where Gemmell begins to twist things is that Druss here is an old man. Druss is something of a Clint Eastwood type character. You know he can kick the ass of men half his age, but you also know that people are going to want to test him even as they whisper about his legend. That's Druss and that's a major facet of Legend.

Having a somewhat “elderly” warrior means that there will always be a question on whether Druss's body will hold up to he demands of it and therein lies the tension. There's also a siege defending against vastly superior forces and the way Gemmell closes the novel is...interesting, but at its heart, Legend is heroic epic fantasy where things are a little too simple, too pat, and in many cases, too obvious. On the other hand, Legend does not pretend to be anything other than what it is.

There is a place for this type of fantasy. Certainly there is a market for it, and the David Gemmell Legend Award celebrates epic fantasy and Gemmell's legacy. I'm just not sure this is what I want to read on a regular basis.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Elizabeth Bear story and interview

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 0
There's a double shot of Elizabeth Bear goodness over at Apex Magazine.  I'm off my game because this news is a whole day old!  I don't know what's wrong with me.

First, they've got an interview with Bear.  It's about stuff. 

Second is a brand spanking new short story titled "The Leavings of the Wolf."  I must read this when I'm not fixing to fall asleep. 

While you're there, Apex also has a new story from Catherynne Valente

You're welcome. 

Weird Fiction Review

 From the press release, an interesting blog / magazine emerges:


WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR WEIRD?


Weirdfictionreview.com: Your Non-Denominational Source for The Weird

Weirdfictionreview.com launched today, a website devoted to The Weird and created by Luis Rodrigues. The project is the brainchild of editing-writing team Ann & Jeff VanderMeer. Hugo Award-winner Ann VanderMeer until recently edited Weird Tales Magazine and has co-edited several anthologies with her husband. Jeff’s last novel, Finch, was a finalist for the Nebula Award and World Fantasy Award. Together they edited the just-released The Weird: A Compendium of Strange & Dark Stories (Atlantic/Corvus), a 750,000-word, 100-year retrospective of weird fiction.


The site kicks off today with the following features:


---Exclusive interview with Neil Gaiman about weird fiction:


---First episode of exclusive “Reading The Weird” webcomic by Leah Thomas:


---Translation of Thomas Owen’s short story “Kavar the Rat” by Edward Gauvin:


---The full Table of Contents for The Weird compendium, with notes:


---Weird Gallery, Featuring the art of New Orleans artist Myrtle Von Damitz III:


Come back later this week and next for: “Weirdly Epic: A Century of First Lines,” exclusive interviews with Kelly Link and Thomas Ligotti, a feature on artist/writer Alfred Kubin, Kafkaesque entertainments, China Mieville’s “AFTERWEIRD: The Efficacy of a Worm-eaten Dictionary,” and a feature on classic Weird Tales women writers. An ongoing “101 Weird Writers” feature will also begin next week.


Weirdfictionreview.com will initially focus on features related to The Weird compendium, but its primary mission over time will be to serve as an ongo­ing explo­ration into all facets of the weird, in all of its many forms — a kind of “non-denominational” approach that appre­ci­ates Love­craft but also writers like Franz Kafka, Angela Carter, and Shirley Jack­son – along with the next gen­er­a­tion of weird writ­ers and inter­na­tional weird. Writer Angela Slatter serves as the managing editor.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Greatest Peanuts Comic Strips

Monday, October 31, 2011 3
As I read through the Fantagraphics collections of the Peanuts comic strips, I am often struck by just how perfectly written some of the strips are.  Schulz can break your heart with just one panel, and with another show the quiet humanity and pricelessness of family or friendship.  I've looked for just those strips to share, but have had little luck. 

Specifically, I wanted the October 11, 1980 strip which closes a story arc where Snoopy has been trying to figure out what exact kind bird Woodstock is and, in the end, suggests that maybe Woodstock is a duck.  When Woodstock is distraught at Snoopy's bad joke, the final panel is this perfect touching moment of reconciliation and friendship.  I could never find the strip online. 

Today, I ran into another.


I found this one.  It speaks volumes.  Still couldn't find the Snoopy / Woodstock strip.

I also ran across a series of blog posts from one Trapper Jenn, MD listing out what she feels the 50 greatest Peanuts strips are.  She has good taste, though she doesn't count that Snoopy / Woodstock strip as one of them.

Regardless, I want to share her list.  And her commentary.

The Honor Bag
50-41
40-31
30-21
20-11
10-1

Enjoy! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

2011 World Fantasy Award Winners

Sunday, October 30, 2011 0
Via Twitter and Tor.com


Best Novel: Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
Best Novella: “The Maiden Flight of McAuley's Bellerophon”, by Elizabeth Hand
Best Short Fiction: “Fossil-Figures”, by Joyce Carol Oates
Best Anthology: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, by Kate Bernheimer
Best Collection: What I Didn't See, by Karen Joy Fowler
Best Artist: Kinuko Y. Craft
Special Award, Professional: Marc Gascoigne, for Angry Robot
Special Award, Non-Professional: Alisa Krasnostein, for Twelfth Planet Press

Congratulations to all the winners AND all the nominees

Now it's time to start catching up on all of the goodness I missed this year. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Underland Stuff

Friday, October 28, 2011 0
It occurs to me that I haven't heard much about Underland Press in a while, but they had two books published this year.

In Extremis, by John Shirley 

In Extremis features more than twenty of Shirley’s most intense stories originally published in anthologies and periodicals like Asimov's Science Fiction, Cemetery Dance, and New Noir. In addition, this volume contains two never-before-published pieces that are sure to roil the genre’s most hardened readers.


The Other, by Matthew Hughes


Meet Luff Imbry, an insidiously clever confidence man . . . He likes good wine, good food, and good stolen goods, and he always maintains the upper hand. When a business rival gets the drop on him, he finds himself abandoned on Fulda—a far-off, isolated world with a history of its own. Unable to blend in and furious for revenge, Imbry has to rely on his infamous criminal wit to survive Fulda’s crusade to extinguish The Other.

Now, I have this inexplicable manner of deciding which books I want to read and simple descriptions tend to not play into it, but one thing that helps is history.  Underland Press is the publisher of The Pilo Family Circus, Last Days, and Finch.  Good stuff (and, in the case of Finch, great stuff).They've published a Joe Lansdale collection which I really have to read one of these days.  All of this is to say that I think I need to track down these two Underland books.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Griaule

Monday, October 24, 2011 0
That Dragon Griaule collection from Lucius Shepard that I've been dreaming about for years?


You can order it now

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Machine Cover

Saturday, October 22, 2011 0
The news is a good month old by this point, but I only just now have consistent internet access and wanted to share. 

One of my more anticipated novels for the last couple of years is Jennifer Pelland's Machine.  I absolutely love her short fiction and can't wait to see what she will do at novel length (despite that I have, in fact, been waiting to find out).  Machine is forthcoming in late December from Apex Books.


Machine has a cover!  Looks damn good. 



Cover Artist: Katja Faith
Cover Design: Mekenzie Larsen

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dreamhaven Books to Close

Friday, October 21, 2011 0
Disappointing news on the home front.  According to Locus, Dreamhaven Books is closing its doors at the end of January. Here is a copy of the e-mail sent out with the catalog.

I only shopped Dreamhaven perhaps once a year.  I like the store, it was just never part of my regular rotation.  That's probably part of the problem and why the store is closing. I always took for granted that the Twin Cities had two outstanding genre bookshops.  I saw Paolo Bacigalupi read from Pump Six there and bought the book on the spot.  It's a good store.  I don't really want to say "was", but that's about to happen in just a few months. 

I wish Greg Ketter the best and hope that whatever his plans are for the future, that they are a smash hit.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stumptown

Thursday, October 20, 2011 3
Stumptown
Greg Rucka (writer)
Matthew Southworth (art)

Stumptown features Dex Parios, a private investigator with shit luck at gambling. Down nearly eighteen grand to a casino, she is offered a case by the head of casino operations: find the missing granddaughter of Sue-Lynne Suppa, and the debt is erased.

Greg Rucka has worked on some of the biggest franchises from Marvel and DC Comics, but should be best known for his work on Queen & Country and Whiteout. Queen & Country is some of the best espionage fiction you're likely to run across, and given the difference in medium, I'd hold it up against prose fiction. It's damn good.

The thing about comic books is that where a writer can be so good on one series, his next work can fall flat and not meet the expectations his own excellence has set. Granted, this is true about anything, but I am a bit more hesitant with comics than with prose novels. Whiteout was good. Queen & Country was great. Could Stumptown even compare?

Happily, yes.

Charlotte Suppa has been missing for four days, and like any good detective story, Stumptown isn't quite so simple as “find the girl who ran away.” There's more to it, but not so much in a way that would begin to strain credulity. After telling personal stories on the world's stage with Queen & Country, Rucka tells a smaller story with Stumptown. Though the focus is on Dex's investigation, readers get a sense of Dex's life and personal story in an organic manner that serves both the macro story of the investigation as well as the micro story of introducing this new world. Rucka is very good at that balancing act. He does well with Dex's characterization and gives enough hints for the supporting cast to come alive as well.

Matthew Southworth's illustrations should also be commended. There is a certain washed out quality that serves the tone of the story while perfectly conveying who the characters are and what sort of world they inhabit. The art does its job, but it is more than simply serviceable. Matthew Southworth helps tell Rucka's story and with a different artist, we'd have an entirely different book – and probably not as good as the one we have now.

The four issues collected in Volume One cover “The Case of the Girl Who Took her Shampoo (But Left her Mini).” That title is the only bit of cheese to be found in the book. The only collected edition available is the hardcover that'll run you in the neighborhood of $30, but it's well worth checking out. One can only hope that Rucka has more Stumptown books in the works and that Southworth will be back doing the illustrations.  This interview suggests that there is.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bookshelf

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Even though I haven't been able to read nearly as many books these past months I've been in training, I've managed to accumulate a decent starting collection of books.  Now, eight of these were books that I brought from home after the Fourth of July holiday, but the rest...well, the rest are all new to my collection. 

To save some money, I haven't picked up the highest profile releases that I really want to own, but I'm rather happy with what I've picked up.  Some good stuff here. 

Oh, and if you wondered what happens when you take a book with you to some field exercises where you're going to be made up like a casualty and you don't take care where you leave said book...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Forthcoming 2011: Q4

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 0

Welcome to the latest installment of "Stuff I'm Looking Forward To This Year". As always, I take my information from the Locus Forthcoming list, plus a little bit of extra research when I'm aware of things that should be on the Locus list and are not.

October
The Hum and the Shiver, by Alex Bledsoe: New series. I've pretty well enjoyed everything I've read from Bledsoe

After the Apocalypse, by Maureen F. McHugh: Her collection Mothers and Other Monsters was fantastic. This is a new collection. Can't miss.

Ganymede, by Cherie Priest: Aww, come on. It's a new Clockwork Century novel from Cherie Priest. I love this stuff.


November
Stone Spring, by Stephen Baxter: What Baxter I have read has been consistently excellent.  I expect more of the same.

Master of the House of Darts, by Aliette de Bodard: If you're not reading de Bodard's Aztec set murder mysteries laced with blood magic, you're seriously missing out. This is fantastic stuff and is her third novel.


The Allow of Law, by Brandon Sanderson: Set in the Mistborn universe, only a couple centuries later.


December
11.22.63, by Stephen King: I dunno, it's new King. Very hit or miss, but what the hell. He mixes time travel and the Kennedy assassination with this one.


That's it for the year!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 World Fantasy Award Nominees

Saturday, July 30, 2011 0
Via Locus

It's that time of year again and the nominees for the World Fantasy Awards have been announced.  It's a good list.  If you're not sure what to read, the World Fantasy Awards are a great place to start.

Best Novel
Zoo City, Lauren Beukes (Jacana South Africa; Angry Robot)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
The Silent Land, Graham Joyce (Gollancz; Doubleday)
Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay (Viking Canada; Roc; Harper Voyager UK)
Redemption In Indigo, Karen Lord (Small Beer)
Who Fears Death, Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)

Best Novella
Bone and Jewel Creatures, Elizabeth Bear (Subterranean)
The Broken Man, Michael Byers (PS)
The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon”, Elizabeth Hand (Stories: All-New Tales)
The Thief of Broken Toys, Tim Lebbon (ChiZine Publications)
“The Mystery Knight”, George R.R. Martin (Warriors)
The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window”, Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer 2010)

Best Short Fiction
“Beautiful Men” , Christopher Fowler (Visitants: Stories of Fallen Angels and Heavenly Hosts)
“Booth’s Ghost”, Karen Joy Fowler (What I Didn’t See and Other Stories)
Ponies”, Kij Johnson (Tor.com 11/17/10)
“Fossil-Figures”, Joyce Carol Oates (Stories: All-New Tales)
Tu Sufrimiento Shall Protect Us”, Mercurio D. Rivera (Black Static 8-9/10)

Best Anthology
The Way of the Wizard, John Joseph Adams, ed. (Prime)
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, Kate Bernheimer, ed. (Penguin)
Haunted Legends, Ellen Datlow & Nick Mamatas, eds. (Tor)
Stories: All-New Tales, Neil Gaiman & Al Sarrantonio, eds. (Morrow; Headline Review)
Black Wings: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror, S.T. Joshi, ed. (PS)
Swords & Dark Magic, Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders, eds. (Eos)

Best Collection
What I Didn’t See and Other Stories, Karen Joy Fowler (Small Beer)
The Ammonite Violin & Others, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
Holiday, M. Rickert (Golden Gryphon)
Sourdough and Other Stories, Angela Slatter (Tartarus)
The Third Bear, Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon)

Best Artist
Vincent Chong
Kinuko Y. Craft
Richard A. Kirk
John Picacio
Shaun Tan

Special Award, Professional
John Joseph Adams, for editing and anthologies
Lou Anders, for editing at Pyr
Marc Gascoigne, for Angry Robot
Stéphane Marsan & Alain Névant, for Bragelonne
Brett Alexander Savory & Sandra Kasturi, for ChiZine Publications

Special Award, Non-Professional
Stephen Jones, Michael Marshall Smith, & Amanda Foubister, for Brighton Shock!: The Souvenir Book Of The World Horror Convention 2010
Alisa Krasnostein, for Twelfth Planet Press
Matthew Kressel, for Sybil’s Garage and Senses Five Press
Charles Tan, for Bibliophile Stalker
Lavie Tidhar, for The World SF Blog

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chew, by John Layman

Sunday, June 26, 2011 3
Chew is one of the best fucking comic books that I have read.  Seriously. 

It works like this: Written by John Layman and featuring the art of Rob Guillory, Chew is funny as hell, albeit in manner that surrounds itself with nastiness.  Chew is violent, but has a heart.  Chew is something of an investigative story, but saying that fails to do justice to what Chew really is, which is completely awesome.

See, Tony Chu is a cibopath.  This means that he gets a psychic impression from whatever he eats: the history of the food is laid bare.  Who prepared it, how it was prepared, how the animal or plant was slaughtered or treated with chemicals...all the way back.  Anything he eats will give him that flash of history.  Anything

This is a world where poultry is illegal and when we meet him, Tony is working as a vice-cop investigating a black market chicken operation.  Yes, there is a certain amount of absurdity played straight in Chew.  Recruited from the Philadelphia PD into the special investigations division of the Food & Drug Administration (which has a crazy amount of authority here), Tony's world opens up and as such, so does ours. 

I'm not sure Chew can be well described or well defined.  Chew is its own thing.  Chew is mind-blowingly awesome. 

Right now there are only 19 issues published (three collections worth, plus change), so get in on it now.  I believe there is a story arc planned to go 60 issues.  You want to read this.  You need to read this. 

Go read Chew.  Seriously.  Go. 

I can't recommend this highly enough. 

Sunday, June 05, 2011

adjustments

Sunday, June 05, 2011 0
Now that I have time to look at what is on the horizon from a better vantage point, if I were to adjust my last post on the Q3 forthcoming books, the one I wrote back in February before I left for BMT, I would do something like this:

July
The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer (no change)

Kitty's Big Trouble, by Carrie Vaughn (no change)

A Dance With Dragons, by George R. R. Martin: Because holy crap it's really coming. 

August
The Tempering of Men, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear (no change)

The Diviner, by Melanie Rawn (no change)

September
Winter's Dream, by Glen Cook: Honestly, I'm skeptical of this listing.  Locus shows it as a collection from SubPress, but I haven't heard word one about it.  But, if it is real, I want.  Badly.

Hellbent, by Cherie Priest: Umm...it's by Cherie Priest.

Goliath, by Scott Westerfeld: The concluding volume of the trilogy beginning with Leviathan.


Good stuff.  The monster is obviously GRRM's book, but Melanie Rawn's Diviner is kind of a big deal.  It's her first foray back into more traditional fantasy AND, it's the prequel to the outstanding novel The Golden Key.  Like everyone who read The Golden Key, I've been waiting a long time for this one. 

Friday, June 03, 2011

Forthcoming 2011: Q3

Friday, June 03, 2011 0
(this post was written back in February)


Welcome to the latest installment of "Stuff I'm Looking Forward To This Year". As always, I take my information from the Locus Forthcoming list, plus a little bit of extra research when I'm aware of things that should be on the Locus list and are not.

Because this post was written so far in advance, I expect that there will be significant changes to what is coming out this quarter, especially around August / September.


July
The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer: This. No, really, this.


Kitty's Big Trouble, by Carrie Vaughn: I really, really like the Kitty Norville novels.


August
The Tempering of Men, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear: The follow up to the all sorts of awesome A Companion to Wolves.

The Diviner, by Melanie Rawn: You may put this book firmly in the column of “novels I never expected to see published”. If I remember correctly, this is the prequel to The Golden Key (1996) and without Rawn's entry, Kate Elliott and Jennifer Roberson have been unable to write their planned novels. I am super excited about this. Also, you should really go check out The Golden Key if you haven't yet.


September
Honestly – nothing. But this is based on what was listed as forthcoming for September waaay back in February. I'm sure by this point other awesomeness will hit the publication schedule.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bordertown lives

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 0
Emma Bull would like you to know that Bordertown lives and is back with a shiny new anthology. I've mentioned Bordertown a few times recently, but this little nugget at the end of her post was worth sharing:

And of course, you can go to Bordertown yourself. Because Welcome to Bordertown, the new anthology, is officially available at all your favorite places for book-buying. You'll find it shelved as Fiction...like so many other travel guides to strange and magical places.

Exactly.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 Nebula Award Winners

Saturday, May 21, 2011 1
Via Tor.com and Genreville

The Nebula Awards.  They had nominees.  They have winners. 

Novel: Blackout / All Clear, by Connie Willis
Novella: "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window", by Rachel Swirsky
Novelette: "That Leviathan, Whom Thou Has Made", by Eric James Stone
Short Story: "Ponies", by Kij Johnson, and "How Interesting: A Tiny Man", by Harlan Ellison (TIE)


Honestly, because of stuff, I didn't get the chance to read many of them, but congratulations to all the winners, but especially Rachel Swirsky for the excellent “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window”.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Bordertown

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 1
Tor.com has an article on a "Noob's Trip to Bordertown".  Color me excited for some Bordertown, folks.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

random things

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 2
So, I've been away for a while and I will be busy learning EMT and Nursing for the rest of the year, but I've started to catch up on stuff that I missed while at BMT. 

Much of this is probably old news, but it's stuff that interested me enough that I wanted to make note of it. 

Jeff VanderMeer interviews Johanna Sinisalo.  You may remember Sinisalo from her Nebula Award nominated story "Baby Doll".

Two posts on Bordertown.  There's a new collection forthcoming.  I need to figure out if I want to try to read the back catalog first, or dive into this one. 

There will be a sequel to next month's new Wild Cards novel (Fort Freak).  The new one is tenatively titled Lowball.  I heart Wild Cards.

Speaking of Fort Freak, it has a cover.

Some guy named George finished a book.  Whatever. 

That same guy named George talked to another guy named Joe.  Shrug.

If you like Daniel Keys Moran (and you should), you'll be happy to know that his backlist and the brand freaking new AI War are available as e-books

David McCullough has a new book coming out.

The new Stover novel is due for publication February 2012.  It's undergone a name change

Oh, very central to my interests - the Hugo nominations are out!  I'll post more on this later, but let me give a belated woo to Mary Robinette Kowal, Carrie Vaughn, Nora Jemisin, Rachel Swirsky, and Aliette de Bodard.  Awesomeness gets recognized, y'all.  I will mention that several of these matched my ballot.  Just saying, I've got good taste. 

Genevieve Valentine's debut novel Mechanique is out.  I'm freaking excited to read this as soon as I possibly can.  Not sure when that'll be whilst in school and on an Army post, but it will happen.  Otherwise, there's a nice review over at the AV Book Club.


I'm sure I'm completely overlooking something, but that's the awesome I could remember.  Go read Mechanique now.  Go.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Alive

Saturday, May 07, 2011 2
This is a short note just to let folks know that yes, I am still alive.  I graduated BMT on April 29 (interesting experience that I may tell you about later).  This past week I've had a bunch of briefings on a number of things.  My classes start next week and I expect I'll be quite busy at that point. 

One person I spoke with in my career field said he had three tests the first week.  We'll see how that goes. 

Otherwise, I haven't read anything other than my  BMT Study Guide (Mar 1 - Apr 29 and an issue of Playstation Magazine (two days ago).  I did knock out Stephen King's Dolores Claiborne on my flight down to San Antonio.  Decent novel, but nothing I needed to share with the world. 

That's it. 

If you need something else to read, go take another look at Alison McGhee's entry from March 14 (thanks Alison!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Final 2011 Hugo Nomination Ballot

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 4
(This post was written back in February)

Below are my nominations for the 2011 Hugo Awards.  Because I've been fairly distracted as of late, I did not spend quite as much time reading all the short fiction I should have and didn't put enough thought into some of the other categories with few (or no) nominations.  That said, I do feel strongly about each of the nominations I did make.

Remember, if you wish to nominate, you must have at least purchased a supporting membership to Renovation by January 31.  Nominations are due by March 26.  If you don't have a supporting membership, it may be worth it to still purchase one.  You'll be able to vote on the final ballot, nominate in 2012, and if there is a Hugo Voter's Packet again this year, you'll be able to get electronic copies of most of the final nominees - including the novels.  Totally worth it, if you have the money to spare.

Regardless, here is my ballot. 


Novel
Ark, by Stephen Baxter
Chill, by Elizabeth Bear
Horns, by Joe Hill
Dreadnought, by Cherie Priest
Bitter Seeds, by Ian Tregillis

Novella
Clementine, by Cherie Priest
Bone and Jewel Creatures, by Elizabeth Bear
The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window”, by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Online)

Novelette
The Bride Replete”, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Apex)
Basilisk Hunt”, by Emma Bull and Holly Black (Shadow Unit)
The Jaguar House, in Shadow”, by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov's)

Short Story
Ghosts of New York”, by Jennifer Pelland (Dark Faith)
The Taxidermist's Other Wife”, by Kelly Barnhill (Clarkesworld)
"After the Dragon", by Sarah Monette (Fantasy)
The Monster's Million Faces”, by Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com)
Amaryllis”, by Carrie Vaughn (Lightspeed)

Best Related Work
No Nomination

Best Graphic Story
No Nomination

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form
No Nomination

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form
No Nomination

Best Editor: Short Form
Jonathan Strahan
John Joseph Adams
John Klima
George R. R. Martin
Ann VanderMeer

Best Editor: Long Form
Lou Anders

Best Professional Artist
Sparth
Benjamin Carre
Jon Sullivan
Jon Foster
Rima Staines

Best Semiprozine
Electric Velocipede
Clarkesworld
Shadow Unit
Fantasy Magazine
Lightspeed

Best Fanzine

Best Fan Writer
Adam Whitehead
Niall Harrison
Niall Alexander
Aidan Moher

Best Fan Artist
No Nomination

John W. Campbell Award
No Nomination

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gingerly

Monday, March 14, 2011 0
Greetings, readers of Joe.

I'm one of Joe's guest bloggers, gingerly setting foot on his wonderful blog. I titled this post "Gingerly" not because it has anything to do with this post, but because it's one of my favorite words.

Although I suppose it does have something to do with this post, because hey, this isn't my blog. My blog is way over on WordPress, where I've been switching out themes all night long, not happy with any of them, and now my eyes are bleary.

(Six lines into Blogger, I'm starting to think that Blogger is the way to go. So easy! So simple! So good for idiots like me!)

The word gingerly applies to me here because I'm afraid to mess up Joe's great blog. He's an incredible reader and a great reviewer. He's honest and forthright and enthusiastic. He's off training to be a medic. While I'm sitting on my couch swapping out WordPress themes.

And there you have it.

A couple of recommendations for you:

1. BOOK. The best book I've read in the last three months was Room, a novel by Emma Donaghue. Took me a few chapters to settle in, but then once I did, I couldn't put it down. She's got an uncanny way of getting into the head of a little boy who's never seen the outside of the 12x12' room where he was born and raised.

2. BLOG. Try out Your Man for Fun in Rapidan: http://yourmanforfuninrapidan.blogspot.com/. (My apologies; I can't figure out how to hyperlink here on Blogger.)

3. SERENDIPITY. Do what I do and begin your day with a poem or three. Check out Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, or Writer's Almanac. OR, and this is the most fun of all, just google a few random words, e.g., tug, rain, grin, and poem, and see what comes sailing toward you from the universe.

Thanks for letting me stop by. And I'm with those of you who are hoping that we get a glimpse of Joe's Personal Life when you return.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Forthcoming 2011: Q2

Thursday, March 03, 2011 2
(this post was written back in February)


Welcome to the latest installment of "Stuff I'm Looking Forward To This Year". As always, I take my information from the Locus Forthcoming list, plus a little bit of extra research when I'm aware of things that should be on the Locus list and are not


April
Dark Jenny, by Alex Bledsoe: This is the third Eddie LaCrosse novel and is something of a retelling of the Arthurian Legend as seen by LaCrosse. I've already read this one and it's quite good, but that's what we expect from Bledsoe.

Gravity Dreams, by Stephen Baxter: The only thing I know is that this is a novella forthcoming from PS Publishing. The last PS novella I read from Baxter was the outstanding Starfall, which is the reason I'm reading Baxter in the first place.

The Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor: I should really read more Okorafor.

Deathless, by Catherynne M. Valente: Valente describes this as "A retelling of the Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless fairy tales, set in Stalinist Russia". Also, in an instance where cover art really does help sell me a book...have you seen this cover?



May
City of Ruins, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The follow up to Diving Into the Wreck, which was an excellent and thrilling novel.


Eclipse Four, by Jonathan Strahan: Oh, come on. New Eclipse. Must. Read.

Mechanique, by Genevieve Valentine: I've been following Genevieve's short fiction for a while now. This is her debut novel.  I'm hearing some buzz on this by sources I trust.  


June
Never at Home, by L. Timmel Duchamp: It's a new short fiction collection. I've read the first four of her Marq'ssan novels and Duchamp is worth reading whenever the chance comes up.


The Republic of Thieves, by Scott Lynch: I don't know, I'll believe it's really coming out when it does. But, it's on the Locus list and so it is on mine for the second consecutive quarter.


Fort Freak, by George R. R. Martin: New Wild Cards. Martin and his consortium brings the story back to Jokertown, which is a nice treat. An even nicer treat: the stable of writers for this volume include Cherie Priest and David Anthony Durham.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Grail

Monday, February 28, 2011 1
Over at Tor.com, Liz Bourke has a review of Elizabeth Bear's Grail.  Since I haven't been able to wrap my head around what I want to say about the book, Bourke's review will have to do.

I will say that I highly recommend the Jacob's ladder trilogy.  Start with Dust

Friday, February 25, 2011

Personal Post is Personal

Friday, February 25, 2011 9
Years ago, after floundering without a focus for this blog, I set a couple of ground rules for what this blog would be about and what sort of content I would allow myself to post. This was never written out, but it was what occurred in my head to give the blog a particular shape and flavor.

First: This would be about books and stories and storytellers. Genre didn’t matter, though I have particular interests that I choose to write about more often than others. I just wanted to focus on the cool stuff folks were writing, fiction (and nonfiction) that got me excited.

Second: No contests.

Third: No blatant promotion unless it was something I was already excited about or could self-justify why I should promote a particular book or event. Press releases were few and far between and were only posted when I really wanted to amplify the signal. If you wanted to take the position that any blogging is promotion, I can’t argue the point, but I would say that most blogging is done for personal reasons and I talk up the folks who excite me as a reader. You’ve likely noticed particular writers who get mentioned far more often here than others, sometimes years before there is a hint of a novel on the horizon. There’s a reason for that and it isn’t because any of them asked me to.

Fourth: Nothing personal. This is a book blog. It’s not about my life. It’s about the stuff I like to read. I’ve done personal journaling over the years in other places and that’s fine, but this wasn’t the place for that. Also, I just don't like talking about myself.


So why this?


Seven months ago, back in July, I enlisted in the Air Force Reserve. Since then I’ve been either waiting to find out what jobs were available, waiting to receive a ship date to leave for Basic Training, or waiting to actually leave for BMT. The key word here is “waiting”. Unless I do something really stupid and get hit by a car, in three days the waiting will be over and I’ll leave for BMT and then Tech School where I’ll train to be a Med Tech.

What this means for you is that for two months I will have next to no contact with the outside world and for the five months after that I’ll be studying my butt off trying to wrap myself around the medical stuff, getting my EMT-B certification, and generally being busy. Any reading time I have will be study time. I’m rather excited about the opportunity. Turning 32 while in BMT, I’ll be one of the older recruits there (Active Duty has a 27yr age limit, Reserve is 35) and will have to work just a little bit harder to keep up with the youthful energy I’ve grown out of. That’s fine. Grandpa here can keep up with the kids.

This would normally be about the time I would announce that the blog is going on hiatus and all four of my readers will be lamenting the demise of the blog. That’s what normally happens, right? Blogger says he is taking a break and then never comes back. Well, I’m going Reserve, not Active Duty, so once my training is done I’ll be back home doing the traditional Reserve duty and will have pretty much the same amount of personal time as I do now to haphazardly blog.

But! I have a treat!

While I am going on hiatus, this blog is not. A number of awesome people have graciously agreed to contribute some of their time and guest blog for me while I’m away. There’s no set schedule for this, but considering how infrequently I’ve been posting, I can’t say that I have room to judge. Plus, busy people are busy and I appreciate the assistance.

Here then are you erstwhile bloggers:

Kelly Barnhill: Kelly is the author of the forthcoming YA novel The Mostly True Story of Jack and a bunch of really cool stories, most recently “The Taxidermist's Other Wife”. Oh, and she's super duper awesome.

Jennifer Pelland: Jennifer is the author of some kick ass short fiction, twice nominated for a Nebula Award (“Captive Girl” and “Ghosts of New York”). Her short story collection Unwelcome Bodies was published in 2008 and her debut novel, Machine, is due out in 2011. I am terribly excited to read it.

John Picacio: Artist Extraordinaire. John has been nominated for a number of Hugo Awards and has won a World Fantasy Award. You may have seen some of his work.

Codename V: You don't know her, but she is awesomesauce.

Alison McGhee: Alison writes wonderful books. I cannot recommend Rainlight or All Rivers Flow to the Sea highly enough. She'll break your heart with the turn of a word. Alison is a # 1 New York Times best selling author and her novel Shadow Baby was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.


Yes, this blog is now exponentially cooler than it was yesterday.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2010 Nebula Award Nominees

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 1
Via Jennifer Pelland

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced the nominees for the 2010 Nebula Awards.


(some of the story links may only be available for the next couple of months, this is just something that happens with the awards.  get them while they are hot)

Short Story
Arvies”, by Adam-Troy Castro (Lightspeed, Aug 2010)
How Interesting: A Tiny Man”, by Harlan Ellison (Realms of Fantasy, Feb 2010)
Ponies”, by Kij Johnson (Tor.com, Jan 17, 2010)
I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno”, by Vylar Kaftan (Lightspeed, June 2010)
The Green Book”, by Amal El-Mohtar (Apex Magazine, Nov 2010)
Ghosts of New York”, by Jennifer Pelland (Dark Faith)
“Conditional Love”, by Felicity Shoulders (Asimov’s, Jan 2010)

Novelette
“Map of Seventeen”, by Christopher Barzak (The Beastly Bride)
The Jaguar House, in Shadow”, by Aliette de Bodard (Asimov’s, July 2010)
The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara”, by Christopher Kastensmidt (Realms of Fantasy, Apr 2010)
“Plus or Minus”, by James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s, Dec 2010)
“Pishaach”, by Shweta Narayan (The Beastly Bride)
The Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made”, by Eric James Stone (Analog, Sept 2010)
“Stone Wall Truth”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Asimov’s, Feb 2010)


Novella
The Alchemist, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Audible, Subterranean)
“Iron Shoes”, by J. Kathleen Cheney (Alembical 2)
The Lifecycle of Software Objects, by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)
“The Sultan of the Clouds” by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s, Sept 2010)
Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance”, by Paul Park (F&SF, Jan / Feb 2010)
The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window”, by Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Magazine, Summer 2010)


Novel
The Native Star, by M. K. Hobson (Spectra)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor) (review)
Echo, by Jack McDevitt (Ace)
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor (DAW)
Blackout / All Clear, by Connie Willis (Spectra)


The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Performance
Despicable Me, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud (directors), Ken Daurio & Cinco Paul (screenplay), Sergio Pablos (story) (Illumination Entertainment)
Doctor Who: ‘‘Vincent and the Doctor’’, Richard Curtis (writer), Jonny Campbell (director)
How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders (directors), William Davies, Dean DeBlois, & Chris Sanders (screenplay) (DreamWorks Animation)
Inception, Christopher Nolan (director), Christopher Nolan (screenplay) (Warner)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Edgar Wright (director), Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright (screenplay) (Universal)
Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich (director), Michael Arndt (screenplay), John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, & Lee Unkrich (story) (Pixar/Disney)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction
Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
White Cat, by Holly Black (McElderry)
Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press)
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword, by Barry Deutsch (Amulet)
The Boy from Ilysies, by Pearl North (Tor Teen)
I Shall Wear Midnight, by Terry Pratchett (Gollancz, Harper)
A Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner (Greenwillow)
Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld (Simon Pulse)


Congratulations to all the nominees!


I would like to take this moment to offer up extra congrats to Jennifer Pelland, Rachel Swirsky, Aliette de Bodard, and Mary Robinette Kowal. I’ve been following Jennifer, Rachel, and Mary’s work for years and it’s awesome to see these nominations. This marks Pelland’s second Nebula nomination (previously, “Captive Girl”), Rachel’s second (“A Memory of Wind”), and Mary’s first (her story “Evil Robot Monkey” was nominated for a Hugo, and she is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer). I’ve only recently come to discover Aliette, but her novel Servant of the Underworld was quite excellent. I’m glad to see each of them pick up nominations this year.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

a collection of new books

Sunday, February 20, 2011 5
I've been on a book buying spree lately and have brought in a host of new books to the welcoming embrace of my bookshelves.  Yes, I really do buy books, too.  This post was just long overdue.  I should really have updated sooner.  I think I've forgotten some stuff that I purchased a couple months ago. 

New
The Alchemist, by Paolo Bacigalupi
The White City, by Elizabeth Bear
The Executioness, by Tobias Buckell
The Strange Case of the Dead Bird on the Night Stand, by Emma Bull and Kyle Cassidy
Dread Island, by Joe R. Lansdale
A Companion to Wolves, by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear
Bloodshot, by Cherie Priest
Holiday, by M. Rickert
Ventriloquism, by Catherynne M. Valente (also, here)
Secret Life, by Jeff VanderMeer
Precious Dragon, by Liz Williams


Used
A Shadow in Summer, by Daniel Abraham
The Gypsy, by Steven Brust and Megan Lindholm
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grill, by Steven Brust
Solitaire, by Kelley Eskridge
The Blue Place, by Nicola Griffith
The Golden Key, by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson, and Kate Elliott
Natural History, by Justina Robson
The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
Children of God, by Mary Doria Russell
 
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