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The Human Race



Reviews of and Commentaries on Speculative Fiction



Updated: 2014-10-04T20:36:46.431-05:00

 



Don't foget to vote

2008-07-07T07:58:52.280-05:00

https://www.denvention3.org/wcdb/08hugostart.php

Today is the deadline to vote for the hugos.
If you are a member please vote!



Hugo Short List

2008-03-21T12:01:04.667-05:00

From DenventionBest NovelThe Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon (HarperCollins, Fourth Estate)Brasyl by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer (Tor; Analog Oct. 2006-Jan/Feb. 2007)The Last Colony by John Scalzi (Tor)Halting State by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit) Best Novella"Fountains of Age" by Nancy Kress (Asimov's July 2007)"Recovering Apollo 8" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Asimov's Feb. 2007)"Stars Seen Through Stone" by Lucius Shepard (F&SF July 2007)"All Seated on the Ground" by Connie Willis (Asimov's Dec. 2007; Subterranean Press)"Memorare" by Gene Wolfe (F&SF April 2007) Best Novelette"The Cambist and Lord Iron: a Fairytale of Economics" by Daniel Abraham (Logorrhea ed. by John Klima, Bantam)"The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" by Ted Chiang (Subterranean Press; F&SF Sept. 2007)"Dark Integers" by Greg Egan (Asimov's Oct./Nov. 2007)"Glory" by Greg Egan (The New Space Opera, ed. by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan, HarperCollins/Eos)"Finisterra" by David Moles (F&SF Dec. 2007)Best Short Story"Last Contact" by Stephen Baxter (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, ed. by George Mann, Solaris Books)"Tideline" by Elizabeth Bear (Asimov's June 2007)"Who's Afraid of Wolf 359?" by Ken MacLeod (The New Space Opera, ed. by Gardner Dozois and Jonathan Strahan, HarperCollins/Eos)"Distant Replay" by Mike Resnick (Asimov's April/May 2007)"A Small Room in Koboldtown" by Michael Swanwick (Asimov's April/May 2007; The Dog Said Bow-Wow,Tachyon Publications) Best Related BookThe Company They Keep: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien as Writers in Community by Diana Glyer; appendix by David Bratman (Kent State University Press)Breakfast in the Ruins: Science Fiction in the Last Millennium by Barry Malzberg (Baen)Emshwiller: Infinity x Two by Luis Ortiz, intro. by Carol Emshwiller, fwd. by Alex Eisenstien (Nonstop)Brave New Words: the Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction by Jeff Prucher (Oxford University Press)The Arrival by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic) Best Dramatic Presentation, Long FormEnchanted Written by Bill Kelly, Directed by Kevin Lima (Walt Disney Pictures)The Golden Compass Written by Chris Weitz, Based on the novel by Philip Pullman, Directed by Chris Weitz (New Line Cinema)Heroes, Season 1, Created by Tim Kring (NBC Universal Television and Tailwind Productions Written by Tim Kring, Jeph Loeb, Bryan Fuller, Michael Green, Natalie Chaidez, Jesse Alexander, Adam Armus, Aron Eli Coleite, Joe Pokaski, Christopher Zatta, Chuck Kim, Directed by David Semel, Allan Arkush, Greg Beeman, Ernest R. Dickerson, Paul Shapiro, Donna Deitch, Paul A. Edwards, John Badham, Terrence O'Hara, Jeannot Szwarc, Roxann Dawson, Kevin Bray, Adam KaneHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Written by Michael Goldenberg, Based on the novel by J.K. Rowling, Directed by David Yates (Warner Bros. Pictures)Stardust Written by Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn, Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, Directed by Matthew Vaughn (Paramount Pictures) Best Dramatic Presentation, Short FormBattlestar Galactica "Razor" written by Michael Taylor, directed by Félix Enríquez Alcalá and Wayne Rose (Sci Fi Channel) (televised version, not DVD)Dr. Who "Blink" written by Stephen Moffat, directed by Hettie Macdonald (BBC)Dr. Who "Human Nature" / "Family of Blood" written by Paul Cornell, directed by Charles Palmer (BBC)Star Trek New Voyages "World Enough and Time" written by Michael Reaves & Marc Scott Zicree, directed by Marc Scott Zicree (Cawley Entertainment Co. and The Magic Time Co.)Torchwood "Captain Jack Harkness" written by Catherine Tregenna, directed by Ashley Way (BBC Wales) Best Professional Editor, Short FormEllen Datlow (The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (St. Martin's), Coyote Road (Viking), Inferno (Tor))Stanley Schmidt (Analog)Jonathan Strahan (The New Space Opera (Eos/HarperCollins), The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 1 (Night Shade), Eclipse One (NightShade)Gordon Van Gelder (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)Sheila Williams (Asimov's Science Fiction) Best [...]



Locus Awards Finalists

2007-04-23T08:17:08.705-05:00

Locus Awards FinalistsVoting in this year's Locus Poll and Survey has closed.Here are the finalists in each category.Winners will be announced in June at the Locus Awards Ceremony in Seattle, June 16th, during the Science Fiction Museum's Hall of Fame weekend.Finalists are listed alphabetically by title, then by nominee.You can purchase tickets in advance to attend the Locus Awards ceremony -- use this form.Best Science Fiction NovelBlindsight, Peter Watts (Tor)Carnival, Elizabeth Bear (Bantam Spectra)Farthing, Jo Walton (Tor)Glasshouse, Charles Stross (Orbit; Ace)Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (Tor)Best Fantasy NovelThe Jennifer Morgue, Charles Stross (Golden Gryphon Press; Ace)The Last Witchfinder, James Morrow (Morrow)The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra)Soldier of Sidon, Gene Wolfe (Tor)Three Days to Never, Tim Powers (Subterranean Press; Morrow)Best First NovelCrystal Rain, Tobias S. Buckell (Tor)The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Gordon Dahlquist (Bantam; Viking UK)The Green Glass Sea, Ellen Klages (Viking)The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch (Gollancz; Bantam Spectra)Temeraire: His Majesty's Dragon/Throne of Jade/Black Powder, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Voyager); as Temeraire: In the Service of the King (SFBC)Best Young Adult BookThe Keys to the Kingdom: Sir Thursday, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin; The Chicken House)Magic Lessons, Justine Larbalestier (Penguin/Razorbill)Spirits That Walk in Shadow, Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Viking)Voices, Ursula K. Le Guin (Orion Children's; Harcourt)Wintersmith, Terry Pratchett (Doubleday UK; HarperTempest)Best Novella"Botch Town", Jeffrey Ford (The Empire of Ice Cream)"Lord Weary's Empire", Michael Swanwick (Asimov's 12/06)"Map of Dreams", M. Rickert (Map of Dreams)"The Mars Girl", Joe Haldeman (Escape from Earth)"Missile Gap", Charles Stross (One Million A.D.)Best Novelette"I, Row-Boat", Cory Doctorow (Flurb 1, Fall '06)"The Night Whiskey", Jeffrey Ford (Salon Fantastique)"Pol Pot's Beautiful Daughter (Fantasy)", Geoff Ryman (F&SF 10-11/06)"The Singularity Needs Women!", Paul Di Filippo (Forbidden Planets [Crowther])"When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth", Cory Doctorow (Baen's Universe 8/06)Best Short Story"How to Talk to Girls at Parties", Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things)"In the Abyss of Time", Stephen Baxter (Asimov's 8/06)"Nano Comes to Clifford Falls", Nancy Kress (Asimov's 7/06)"Sob in the Silence", Gene Wolfe (Strange Birds)"Tin Marsh", Michael Swanwick (Asimov's 8/06)Best MagazineAnalogAsimov'sInterzoneThe Magazine of Fantasy and Science FictionStrange HorizonsBest PublisherBaenDel ReyNight Shade BooksSubterranean PressTorBest AnthologyOne Million A.D., Gardner Dozois, ed. (SFBC)Salon Fantastique, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (Thunder's Mouth Press)The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Nineteenth Annual Collection, Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link & Gavin Grant, eds. (St. Martin's)The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Third Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. (St. Martin's)Year's Best SF 11, David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, eds. (Eos)Best CollectionThe Best of Philip José Farmer, Philip José Farmer (Subterranean Press)The Empire of Ice Cream, Jeffrey Ford (Golden Gryphon Press)Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline Review)Galactic North, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz)The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)Best EditorJim BaenEllen DatlowGardner DozoisDavid G. HartwellGordon Van GelderBest ArtistBob EggletonDonato GiancolaJohn PicacioCharles VessMichael WhelanBest Non-FictionAbout Writing, Samuel R. Delany (Wesleyan University Press)Blood & Thunder: The Life & Art of Robert E. Howard, Mark Finn (MonkeyBrain Books)The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror, John Clute (Payseur & Schmidt)James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, Julie Phillips (St. Martin's)Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe, Win Scott Eckert (MonkeyBrain Books)Best Art BookCathy & Arnie Fenner, eds. Spectrum 13: The Best in Contemporary Fantasti[...]



The Blade Itself

2007-04-06T09:50:45.514-05:00

Publisher : Gollancz432 pagesISBN-10: 0575077859ISBN-13: 978-0575077850£18.994 May 2006I don't often order books from overseas, but I made an exception for Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself. Buzz surrounding this fantasy novel was quite good, and I decided I couldn't wait for the Pyr release this fall, and ordered the Gollancz edition.This is the first novel in the The First Law series. I'm not aware how many volumes are planned but Volume 2, Before They are Hanged was recently released in the UK. Anyway I'd heard a lot of comparisons between this novel and Scott Lynch's Lies of Locke Lamora, which I absolutely loved, and after reading it I can see why they were made. Both are lighter novels, and they rely on pithy dialogue to support the action. The Blade Itself is definitely an introductory chapter to something larger. In this first installment we are introduced to the main characters, the barbarian northman Logen Ninefingers, the bitter crippled Inquisitor Sand dan Glokta, the brash young nobleman, Captain Jezal dan Luthar, the feral ex-slave Ferro Maljinn, and finally the mysterious wizard out of legend, First Magi Bayaz. Well, its not the most original cast of characters, quite of few standards of the genre there as a matter of fact.So lets move on to the world of the The First Law. Most of the story take place in Adua, capital of The Union, a confederacy centered around The Midderlands and which includes in its colonies, Angland in the North and Dagoska in the South. The Union must deal with a threat to Angland from Bethod and his barbarian horde. On top of this, the violent Gurkish threaten Dagoska in the south. Seems The Union is in quite the pinch. The king is old and senile, his heir is a flamboyant layabout, and his council is busy fighting each other. Luckily Bayaz, the power behind the first king Harald centuries ago, has shown up to save the Union, if that is ,he can convince the council he is who he claims.So the world is a pretty typical fantasy setting, the plot is standard, and the characters cliche. Sounds like a mess huh? Well it could be. But Abercrombie take all these standard ingredients and weaves them into a fun exciting yarn. Glokta is a great character. I envision him as Hugh Laurie's House character. House MD has the same plot every week, yet it never fails to entertain. Sometimes the common place and familiar can be very good, comfortable can be welcome. The Blade Itself, is comfortable, and its good. Not every novel needs to be groundbreakingly original, Sometimes it can just be some well done standard fare. Mr. Abercrombie won't be winning any Hugo awards with this debut, but what he is doing is winning a lot of fans with this entertaining tale.7.5 out of 10Buy this book atAmazon UKorThe Book Depository[...]



Hugo Short List

2007-03-29T08:53:46.767-05:00

The full listNovelMichael F. Flynn, Eifelheim (Tor)Naomi Novik, His Majesty’s Dragon (Del Rey; also, Voyager, 1/06, as Temeraire)Charles Stross, Glasshouse (Ace)Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End (Tor)Peter Watts, Blindsight (Tor)Novella“The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko (Asimov’s, April/May 2006)“A Billion Eyes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, October/November 2006)“Inclination” by William Shunn (Asimov’s, April/May 2006)“Lord Weary’s Empire” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s, December 2006)Julian: A Christmas Story by Robert Charles Wilson (PS Publishing)Novelette“Yellow Card Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Asimov’s, December 2006)“Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth” by Michael F. Flynn (Asimov’s, December 2006)“The Djinn’s Wife” by Ian McDonald (Asimov’s, July 2006)“All the Things You Are” by Mike Resnick (Jim Baen’s Universe, October 2006)“Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” by Geoff Ryman (F&SF, October/November 2006)Short Story“How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things, William Morrow)“Kin” by Bruce McAllister (Asimov’s, February 2006)“Impossible Dreams” by Timothy Pratt (Asimov’s, July 2006)“Eight Episodes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, June 2006)“The House Beyond Your Sky” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (Strange Horizons, September 2006)Related BookSamuel R. Delany, About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews (Wesleyan University Press)Joseph T. Major, Heinlein’s Children: The Juveniles (Advent: Publishing)Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon (St. Martin’s Press)John Picacio, Cover Story: The Art of John Picacio (MonkeyBrain Books)Mike Resnick & Joe Siclari, eds., Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches (ISFiC Press)Dramatic Presentation, Long FormChildren of Men. Screenplay by Alfonso Cuaron and Timothy J. Sexton. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. (Universal Pictures)Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Screenplay by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. Directed by Gore Verbinski. (Disney)The Prestige. Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan. Directed by Christopher Nolan. (Warner Brothers / Touchstone Pictures)A Scanner Darkly. Screenplay by Richard Linklater. Directed by Richard Linklater. (Warner Independent Pictures)V for Vendetta. Screenplay by David Lloyd. Directed by James McTeigue. (Warner Brothers)Dramatic Presentation, Short FormBattlestar Galactica, “Downloaded.” Writers Bradley Thompson and David Weddle. Directed by Jeff Woolnough. (NBC Universal/British Sky)Doctor Who, “Army of Ghosts” and “Doomsday.” Written by Russell T. Davies. Directed by Graeme Harper. (BBC Wales/BBC1)Doctor Who, “Girl in the Fireplace.” Written by Steven Moffat. Directed by Euros Lyn. (BBC Wales/BBC1)Doctor Who, “School Reunion.” Written by Toby Whithouse. Directed by James Hawes. (BBC Wales/BBC1)Stargate SG-1, “200.” Written by Brad Wright, Robert C. Cooper, Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie, Carl Binder, Martin Gero, and Alan McCullough. Directed by Martin Wood. (Double Secret Productions/NBC Universal)Editor, Long FormLou Anders (Pyr)James Patrick Baen (Baen Books)Ginjer Buchanan (Ace Books/Roc)David G. Hartwell (Tor Books)Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor Books)Editor, Short FormGardner Dozois (The Year’s Best Science Fiction)David G. Hartwell (Year’s Best SF / The New York Review of Science Fiction)Stanley Schmidt (Analog)Gordon Van Gelder (Fantasy and Science Fiction)Sheila Williams (Asimov’s)Professional ArtistBob EggletonDonato GiancolaStephan MartiniereJohn Jude PalencarJohn PicacioSemiprozineAnsible, ed. Dave LangfordInterzone, ed. Andy CoxLady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, ed. Gavin J. Grant & Kelly LinkLocus, ed. Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong, & Liza Groen TrombiThe New York Review of Science Fiction, ed. Kathryn Cramer, David G. Hartwell, & Kevin J. MaroneyFanzineBanana Wings ed. Claire Brialey & Mark PlummerChallenger ed. Guy [...]



Gates of Fire

2007-03-20T09:02:08.682-05:00

(image) Publisher : Doubleday
400 pages
ISBN-10: 0385492510
Hardcover
$29.95
October 1998


"Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie."
I went to see the movie "300" on opening weekend. I thought it was very well done. I left craving more Spartan bad-assery, and seeing how Steven Pressfield's epic novel had been sitting in my to be read pile for awhile, I thought it was the perfect time to read Gates of Fire.

Both "300" and Gates of Fire are based on the Battle of Thermopylae, the now legendary battle where a force of 300 Spartans and their Greek allies are said to have held off the entire Persian army. Both are fiction. Gates of Fire is much less fantastical than "300" and hits much closer to the truth of the battle. Gates tells its tale from the viewpoint of the lone Greek survivor of the battle, a squire named Xeones.

Xeones is rescued from the rubble of the battlefield and taken before the Persian King Xerxes, who wishes to learn more of these Spartans, who numbering only 300 had managed to hold off his army of hundreds of thousands. Treated by the royal surgeons, Xeones says in order to truly understand the Spartans, he must start at the beginning. The narrative repeatedly jumps around in time, as new points in the tale are related to other events from Xeo's past. Xeo eventually becomes the squire to the Spartan officer Dienekes, who Heredotus credits with responding the the claim that the Persian arrows will blot out the sun replying "Then we shall have our battle in the shade."

Being historical fiction, we know how the story ends. The Spartans are killed to a man, but their courage inspired the rest of Greece to unite and defeat the Persian army.

Gates of Fire is a wonderful novel. Pressfield retells a well known tale with style and flair. I felt like I knew the characters. He gives us a knowing look into the workings of Spartan society, and the warrior psyche. Even though I knew they were all doomed, I kept hoping that Xeo, and Dienekes, and Alexandros, and Leonides, would achieve victory. By their sacrifice, they did indeed.

8.5 out of 10

Purchase this book thru Amazon



Coming Soon : Brasyl

2007-03-19T09:01:52.839-05:00

(image)
I finished reading an advanced review copy of this book last week. I'm still digesting it. This one definitely calls for some reflection. I'll post a review closer to the May release from PYR



The Book Depository

2007-03-16T14:07:43.586-05:00

From time to time there are books I hear about that are released in the UK, but not in the US. The expense to order them from amazon.co.uk is is pretty high due to the cost of shipping them across the Atlantic. I recently was introduced to The Book Depository. They offer free shipping to the US and many other places around the world.

Last week I ordered. The Blade Itself by Joe Abecrombie, Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley, and Dreamsongs by George R.R. Martin.

They showed up yesterday! One week after I ordered them. That is darn good service for an order within the US, much less all the way from England!

So if you are looking for a UK book give The Book Depository a shot.



Hugo Nominations

2007-02-26T13:41:21.857-06:00

(image)

I filled out my ballot last Friday.

If you were a member of LA con IV or are a member of Nippon 2007 don't forget to get your nominations in by March 3rd.


Its probably to late to mail in your ballot but you can nominate online here.


My personal pimp is to recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch for Best Novel and Scott for the Campbell Award.


I also found out that your favorite bloggers are eligible for best Fan Writer, so despite its recent hiatus, think about nominating William Lexner for I Hope I Didn't Just Give Away the Ending .


My final recommendation is for Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form. Battlestar Galactica Exodus Pt.2 is easily the best television I saw last year. One of the best ever imo. So despite the dramatic fall off in the quality of the show since that episode airing give it the love it deserves.
If you need some help in other categories suggestions can be found several places.



Money, Money, Money, Money

2007-02-23T15:50:06.864-06:00

Income is subject that's not often talked about by writers.
John Scalzi does so rather in depth on his blog.
Its a pretty interesting breakdown.

Read the post here.

So a pretty successful author brings in a comfortable income. Of course that's with effectively 3 novels bringing in income for the year. But its taken him a number of years to reach this level.



Supreme Power Vol2

2007-02-19T13:26:52.410-06:00

(image) Publisher: Marvel Comics (December 27, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0785121331
Hardcover: 264 pages
$29.99

This volume collects Supreme Power issues 13-18 as well as Hyperion issues 1-5 in a lovely hardcover format.

Written by J. Michael Straczynski the first part is illustrated by Gary Frank and the later half is drawn by Dan Jurgens. While the book compiles two different comics, the plot line is pretty well integrated as Hyperion takes place immediately following the end of the Supreme Power series. The change in the artwork I found rather jarring as I loved Frank's work, and Jurgens style is not so much to my liking. I really didn't care for the story line in the Hyperion half either. The first half of the book follows Hyperion, Blur and Nighthawk as they track down a serial killer who is an escaped convict who was subjected to genetic experiments by the government. He essentially was given the same powers as Hyperion. The story itself was OK, but not IMO up to par with the prior storyline in Vol 1. In the Hyperion sub arc, the government upset at Mark leaving "the team" outs him as an alien. They also assemble a team of super humans to bring him back. I was average at best.

I was rather disappointed with this collection. I loved the first volume, but this one certainly is quite the fall off in quality. Combine that with half the book being drawn in a style I didn't care for results in a reader not to bothered by the dropping of this title from the Max line.

5 out of 10

Available from

Amazon



Howard Who?

2007-02-19T11:49:40.622-06:00

(image) Publisher : Small Beer Press :Peapod Classics
August 1, 2006
ISBN 1931520186
$14trade paperback
256 pages


Howard Who? is a short story collection by Howard Waldrop with an introduction by George R. R. Martin.

It consists of the following stories.

The Ugly Chickens
This story won the Nebula and the World Fantasy awards as well as being nominated for a Hugo.
It puts forth the question What if the Dodo hadn't been wiped out.

Der Untergang des Abendlandesmenschen
I have no idea what this story was about, but I was never the less tremendously entertained by it.

Ike at the Mike
Did you ever wonder how the world would be different if Eisenhower and Patton had been in a band with Louis Armstrong rather than leading the allies in Europe? Well Me neither, but Howard did, and its a wonderful story.

Dr. Hudson's Secret Gorilla
Classic old school horror movie plot. Or old school bugs bunny cartoon either way .

. . . the World, as we Know't
I don't see the word Phlogiston used enough anymore. This story is a cautionary tale of a science experiment gone bad. Really, Really, horribly bad.

Green Brother
This is the first of two Native American centered stories. I much preferred the next one.

Mary Margaret Road Grader
Or Mad Max meets the county fair. This is a post apocalyptic story where Native American again rule the plains of the US, and they engage in tractor pulls.

"Save A Place in the Lifeboat for Me
Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, and others are sent to prevent "The day the music died." This was also one of my favorites perhaps because I've been to the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake IA many times.

Horror, We Got
You've got to love a time travel tale crossed with a Zionist conspiracy don't you? I loved this story.

Man-Mountain Gentian
Zen Sumo. 'nuff said.

God's Hooks
Izaak Walton goes fishing for a nightmare.

Heirs of the Perisphere
Another post apocalyptic tale. This time Mickey, Goofy, and Donald are the only survivors and they are trying to figure out why no one is coming to Disneyland.

I enjoyed this collection, but I've found I have a hard time getting into reading short fiction. I have a zone I get into in a book I really like, and short stories are over before I ever get to that point. Its much more of a chore to read short fiction for me. But taking that into account the writing itself is very good. Waldrop is very eclectic, and is certainly a master of the short story.

8 out of 10

buy this book at
Amazon
or
Dreamhaven



Clarkesworld is closing its virtual doors

2007-02-12T11:43:58.941-06:00

I was dissapointed to read the below post regarding the closing of Clarkesworld Books.
I had the chance to talk with Neil for awhile at Boskone last year, and he's a very nice guy. Clarkesworld was an outstanding alternative to Amazon and it will be missed. I wish Neil and his family the best in their future endeavors.

Clarkesworld: The Final Chapter

I started Clarkesworld Books seven years ago and each year, it
has outperformed the prior year. I'm the only employee, but the store uses my home as its storage space, so in effect my wife and kids are honorary staff. I couldn't ask for a more supportive team.

A few weeks ago, we found out that we're expecting our third child. Life takes these little unexpected turns every now and then. This particular one requires living space and that space is currently occupied by a bookstore that has nowhere else to go. After much consideration, I'msad to say that I'm going to be closing the store. I've considered all the options and this is the one that makes the most sense for my soon to be expanding family. If you know how much this business has meant to me,
you know this wasn't an easy decision.

I owe a lot to everyone that has supported us over the years. I feel a bit like I'm letting people down, but this is something I have to do. Family comes first. Clarkesworld is not big enough to take on the staff we'd need to continue (babies need time), and I certainly can't afford the cost
of rent here in NJ. My wife will also need my help to keep her (more profitable) business going.
Everyone who has a preorder in with us will receive their books, but I'll probably stop taking more preorders in the next week or so. The website will continue to be maintained and I will take orders for in-stock books for as long as it takes to sell them all off.

Some of you are probably wondering what this will do to Clarkesworld Magazine. None of the reasons for closing the store apply to the magazine. I have every intention of keeping the magazine going and quite probably taking advantage of a few other related opportunities that are presenting themselves.
Running the store has been a personally rewarding experience. I've met many new friends over the years and never ceased to be amazed by how good some people were to us. Thanks to all of you from all of us.

Take care,
-Neil
Neil Clarke
February 10, 2007



Move Under Ground

2007-02-07T11:12:05.851-06:00

(image)
Nick Mamatas has released his novel Move Under Ground online under the Creative Commons License.




Download it for FREE here.




This book has been sitting on my shelves for awhile. I really need to move it up the queue, as I've heard great things about it.






“It’s Kerouac vs. Cthulhu as the most human of writers tangles with the
most inhuman horror. Move Under Ground is a wild, weird ride, and Nick Mamatas
shows awesome chops as well as some sad and funky soul.”—Stewart O’Nan.






Infoquake

2007-02-07T09:33:55.612-06:00

(image) Publisher : Pyr
400pp
ISBN: 1-59102-442-0
Trade Paperback (6" x 9")
$15
July 2006
Cover Illustration and Design: ©2006 David Stevenson

"Hack the body and the mind will follow."

Infoquake, the debut novel by David Louis Edelman, is the first volume of the Jump 225 trilogy. Its a financial thriller in a cyberpunk setting. Infoquake takes place several hundred years in the future, mankind has emerged from the decimation of the autonomous revolution thanks to the work of Sheldon Surina. Surina is the father of bio/logics, digital programs that work through nanobots, or OCHRES, which are spread throughout the bodies of most humans. Competition to create and sell new bio/logic programs is fierce, and Natch is one of , if not the best in the business.

The story starts out with Natch unveiling a Machiavellian plot to ascend to the top spot on Primo's list, the Fortune 500 of the bio/logic biz. This stunt works and even earns him the notice of Margaret Surina, the descendant of Sheldon. She presents Natch with the opportunity of a lifetime. She wants him to finish and sell MultiReal a bio/logic program capable of creating a near infinite number of alternate realities. The catch is that not only does every other Fiefcorp want to get their hands on this program, so does the shadowy High Executive of the Defense and Wellness Council, Len Borda.

The book is fast paced from the start, although the action is much more cerebral than physical. Plots and intrigues abound. Edelman creates a very interesting character in Natch. He has few redeeming qualities but the reader is drawn to him none the less. The supporting cast is very strong as well. I particularly enjoyed Jara, one of Natches apprentices. Edelman creates a rich narrative of a future earth. The back of the book is chock full of appendixes, which includes, a glossary, a time line, and in depth explanations of some of the most prevalent technologies. He is clearly a master at fleshing out his concepts. The story drew me in from the start, and I'm eagerly anticipating the forthcoming volumes.

8.5 out of 10

A sample chapter can be read here

You can purchase this book at Amazon



The Left Hand of Darkness

2007-01-31T11:38:25.915-06:00

The Left Hand of Darkness is the Hugo and Nebula Winning novel by Ursula K. LeGuin, and is widely considered to be her finest work. It is a novel of first contact on the surface, but its deeper purpose was in exploring gender roles in society. It tells the story of Genly Ai, a human representative of the Ekumen, a loose confederation of planets. Genly is tasked with extending an invitation to the world of Gethen to join the Ekumen. His ally in this is the Prime Minister of Karhide, Lord Estraven.In a political shift, Estraven is ousted and must flee to the neighboring nation of Orgoreyn. Genly is rebuffed in his mission by the King of Karhide, so he then decides to take his offer to the government of Orgoreyn. Orgoreyn , however is esentially a communist oligarchy, and Genly is caught in between opposed factions here as well.The plot struck me as rather mediocre. The characters outside of Estraven and Ai were rather dull as well. World building is the strength of this novel. The novel is considered a major work of feminist science fiction. I'm not sure I agree with that. The key element of the story is the nature of the Gethenian people themselves. They are androgynes, a people possessing the potential to manifest either sex, but normally they are nueters. For 2 days every month they go into a state called kemmer, in which they take on sexual characteristics of one of the genders, and more or less go into heat. The result is Gethenians can both sire and bear children. Because of this traditional gender roles such as developed on Earth are not present on Gethen. Its a very interesting concept, but not one that I really look for in my SF reading. LeGuin also inserts several short chapters in which the mythology of Gethen is explored.This book wasn't to my liking. I found it very hard to get interested in. Not until the last third of the book did I find myself enjoying it. Combine that with an uninspiring plot, a mostly bland cast of characters, and the fact that the only truely groundbreaking element of the story was a commentary on gender roles, I was underwhelmed. I certainly see why people hold the book in high regard, but personally, it didn't do much for me. I will stick with the Earthsea trilogy as the signature LeGuin work.6.5 out of 10Available from Amazon[...]



Lies of Locke Lamora : limited edition

2007-01-18T10:42:43.866-06:00

(image) The cover art for the LoLL ltd ed.
Very pretty.
I have pre ordered my copy from Clarkesworld. It can be purchased directly from Subterranean press also.

Here is the author's blurb on this. *note it actually is scheduled for May release.


In March or April, Subterranean Press will be releasing a high-quality limited edition of The Lies of Locke Lamora.

I believe the run will be 500 Merely Rockin' Limited Edition hardcovers and 15 Ultra Fucking Rad Super Rockin' Edition versions. Obviously those aren't the 'official' descriptions, but what could be better than Ultra Fucking Rad? The answer is nothing. Nothing's better.

This edition of TLOLL will have an original color cover and four color interior illustrations by Edward Miller (http://www.lesedwards.com), and every single one will be signed by yours truly.

If they sell, Bill at SubPress rubs his hands with glee* at the thought of producing a subsequent collector's edition of each book in the Gentleman Bastard sequence. So you know what you need to do-- skip that next meal, ignore your pressing medical concerns, and default on your rent, baby, because there's fresh, pipin' hot books to be had.

*I, of course, do not so much rub my hands together as generate an invisible electromagnetic Glee Field strong enough to knock migrating birds out of the sky.


I went for the merely rockin' edition. I believe the Ultra Rad editions are sold out. I don't normally buy special editions, but I loved this book so much I made an exception.



A Song of Ice and Fire : The Series

2007-01-17T07:39:53.256-06:00

From Variety:


HBO has acquired the rights to turn George R.R. Martin's bestselling fantasy series "A Song of Fire and Ice" into a dramatic series to be written and exec produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
"Fire" is the first TV project for Benioff ("Troy") and Weiss ("Halo") and will shoot in Europe or New Zealand. Benioff and Weiss will write every episode of each season together save one, which the author (a former TV writer) will script.
The series will begin with the 1996 first book, "A Game of Thrones," and the intention is for each novel (they average 1,000 pages each) to fuel a season's worth of episodes. Martin has nearly finished the fifth installment, but won't complete the seven-book cycle until 2011.
The author will co-exec produce the series along with Management 360's Guymon Casady and Created By's Vince Gerardis.
Martin's series has drawn comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien, because both are period epics set in imagined lands. But Martin has eschewed Tolkien's good-vs.-evil theme in favor of flawed characters from seven noble families.
The book has a decidedly adult bent, with sex and violence comparable to series like "Rome" and "Deadwood."
"They tried for 50 years to make 'Lord of the Rings' as one movie before Peter Jackson found success making three," Martin said. "My books are bigger and more complicated, and would require 18 movies. Otherwise, you'd have to choose one or two characters."
Aside from writing the most recent draft of "Halo," Weiss recently adapted the William Gibson novel "Pattern Recognition" for WB and director Peter Weir.
Benioff and Weiss were repped by CAA and Management 360.


Please let this happen and be good. I'm totally excited about this. HBO has a damn good track record in developing cutting edge television series. I'm not familiar with Beinoff and Weiss. Tray, while a bit disappointed was visually entertaining. Plus with George's background in tv, I think this is a great fit, feature films would never work.



Free Verse: Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

2007-01-12T08:44:44.050-06:00

I attended an event last night at the Walker Art Center put on in conjunction with Rain Taxi, a local literary review magazine. It was part of the Free Verse series of readings, and discussions and starred frequent collaborators Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. They are probably best know for their work on The Sandman, but they have been working together more or less for over 20 years, and have created such books as Coraline, Wolves in the Walls, The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish, and Mirrormask. The evening started out with Dave showing some short clips of his animation, and then moving on to his wider portfolio which includes comics, novels, cd, posters, and movies. He gave a very interesting commentary as the presentation unfolded. Neil, followed Dave, and proceeded to let the packed audience of 350 people in on the fact that he had just planned on winging things until he found out that Dave had actually prepared. So he interspersed readings from his latest book Fragile Things, in between his recap of his relationship with Dave. Most of the key points in their partnership can be found in this essay. After their individual presentations, they say down together for a some joint reminiscing before taking some questions from the audience. The whole event lasted right at two hours. This is the 4th time, I've gotten to see Neil , and its always a delight. He is extremely engaging, and possesses a voice that just pulls you into his readings. It was, however, the first time I'd seen Mr. McKean, and while not quite and outgoing as Neil, Dave had a tremendous wit, to go along with his amazing artistry. I can see why they have prospered so well together. They were introduced as England's greatest artistic duo since Lennon and McCartney. That's not too far off the mark in my opinion. The event was carried live on the web, and should soon be available to view here[...]



Nebula Ballot

2007-01-10T09:25:22.025-06:00

The preliminary ballot for this year's Nebula awards is out.

The Nebulas have an odd calender year, eligiblity is work released from March of 2005 thru Feb of 2006.
The canidates for Best Novel are ok, there might be a couple I'd rather see on there, but as I've not read most of these, I'll not argue.
Nebula Awards weekend is May 11-13 in NY, with James Gunn to be named Grandmaster.



Paperback v. Hardcover

2007-01-08T13:21:07.030-06:00

Ahh the eternal debate. Actually its more properly Trade Paperback v. Hardcover v. Massmarket Paperback. There is a debate going on at the ASOIAF forum about what people prefer. Personally I prefer Hardcovers, but sometimes they arent available, and sometimes cost is a factor, but I generally try to buy in HC if its not just a book, I'm taking a flyer on.

This post by Brandon Sanderson, author of Elantris, and Mistborn, gives the author's perspective on the debate.

The gist is that authors make a lot more on hardcovers sold than on paperbacks.



Dragon Avenger

2007-01-07T09:31:15.005-06:00

Dragon Avenger by E.E. Knight is the second cook in the Age of Fire cycle. It tells the tale of Wistala, the sister of Dragon Champion's Auron. The book starts in the same place as the first. With the hatching of the clutch in the cave. and for the first several chapters, it tells the same story, but through Wistala's viewpoint. This time when Wistala and Auron part, she believes he is the one who dies.Wistala takes off to find her father who flew off to exact vengeance upon the Wheel of Fire Dwarves who betrayed them. She even manages to find him, near death from his rash attack, and spends some time trying to nurse him back to health. Being a coming of age story, of course the outcome of this reunion is bound to be temporary, and it is. Wistala is forced to flee and is nearly killed by the Dragonblade. Tala, though is rescued by a kindly elf named Rainfall. and she spends the majority of the book growing up in his company. Not a lot of avenging going on yet huh? just a lot of talking cats, and mules, Well the avenging does come. Events lead to Wistala getting the opportunity to take revenge on all who have wronged her, and her family, and she takes full advantage.I liked the book, it was a light entertaining read for the most part. It felt more like a young adult novel than Champion did. Perhaps it was because of the different feel from the Dragonelles perspective. Perhaps it was where the first book had talking wolves, this one had cats, and horses, and mules, and buzzards. Perhaps I just didn't notice it in the first book. Anyway, Knight does a nice job of expanding his world. We see different areas than we did with Auron. We learn more about the history of the land. He also creates characters that you get attached too. I found myself saddened by the loss of certain characters. Its a worthy follow up to Dragon Champion. The next book in the series is slated to be about the little maimed Copper. I look forward to it.7 out of 10You can purchase this book at,ClarkeswordorAmazon[...]



The Final Reflection

2007-01-02T15:12:52.698-06:00

The Final Reflection is a Star Trek novel written by John M. Ford. Its the first Star Trek novel I've ever read, and from my understanding its pretty atypical. Ford, like the Enterprise liked to go where no man has gone before. Even himself. He actually wrote a second Star Trek novel, How Much for Just the Planet, which is a musical if you can believe it.The main twist in this book, is it doesn't follow the adventures of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, but rather it has a Klingon as the main protagonist. Vrenn, is a houseless orphan who was trained to play the live version of the game klin zha, a much more complicated form of chess. During a match he gains the notice of a prominent Klingon admiral, and ends up being adopted into his line. Vrenn is now able to fulfill his dreams of becoming a naval officer. Vrenn eventually is forced to take the name of Krenn, as a political expediency, and is made captain of his own ship. Part of the price of this is he must travel to Earth to bring back a delegate from the Federation. Kreen becomes a key figure in a plot to bring about a war between the Klingon Empire and the Federation. He must determine who he can trust in order to prevent a needless, honorless war.Ford does masterful work in representing the Klingons as noble , honorable characters, not the hated barbarians they had always been portrayed as. Keep in mind this was written in 1984, well before The Next Generation introduced us to Worf, and the concept that Klingons were anything other than "the enemy". Ford takes a universe all of us are familiar with, and makes it his own. The trouble with so many tie-in novels is that the authors have little room for original creation, but Ford never seems constrained by those limits.I really enjoyed this book. Any fan of either Star Trek books, or Ford's work should definitely pick this up. I will be moving his other Star Trek book up in my to be read pile.8.5 out of 10But this book at Amazon[...]



The Year in Review

2007-01-07T09:34:50.267-06:00

Well its been quite a year. I started a blogger account to be able to comment on other blogs. Then I figured as long as I had it I might as well make some use of it and thought. I'd start writing up a brief review of the books I read. Even though its still a relatively small readership, I never imagined that I'd have hundreds of people all over the world checking this out. Its really amazing.

We did lose some great authors this year. John M. Ford, Octavia Butler, David Gemmell, Peter Benchley, Mickey Spillane all passed this year.

There were also some tremendous debuts this year. The best of which in my opinion was the Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

I didn't get as many books read as I wanted to this year. The final count was 31. Just past the minimum goal of 30 I'd set for myself. I'm shooting for 40 in 2007

Here is a recap of what I read in 2006

The Warrior-Prophet by RS Bakker 9.5
Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson 6.5
The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold 8.0
The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford 9.0
The Thousandfold Thought by RS Bakker 9.0
Dune by Frank Herbert 8.5
Supreme Power by JM Stryzinzki 9.0
Shadow Twin by Martin, Doziois, & Abraham 7.0
A Shadow in Summer by Danial Abraham
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card 9.0
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny 8.5
Dying of the Light by GRR Martin 8.0
The Clan Corporate by Charles Stross 7.5
The Man in the High Castle by PK Dick 9.0
The Forever War by Joe Haleman 9.5
Paladin of Souls by Lois M Bujold 7.0
Neuromancer by William Gibson 8.0
Lamb by Christopher Moore 9.0
River of Gods by Ian MacDonald 8.5
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch 9.5
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link 8.0
Fevre Dream by GRRM 7.5
The Blood Knight by Greg Keyes 7.5
Ultimate Iron Man by OS Card 8.0
One More For the Road by Ray Bradbury 5.0
Tripping to Somewhere by Kristopher Reisz 6.0
Dragon Champion by E.E. Knight 7.5
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan 9.0
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay 8.0
Starship Troopers 9.0
Blindsight by Peter Watts 8.5


My book of the year would have to be The Lies of Locke Lamora, and the Best book I read this year would be The Warrior Prophet by R. Scott Bakker.

I'm looking forward to a lot of new books in 2007. Red Seas under Read Skies by Lynch, Thirteen by Morgan, A Sword from Red Ice by JV Jones, Brasyl by MacDonald, as well as hopefully A Dance with Dragons by GRRM.

In additions I still have a huge backlog of genre classics to get to as well as a lot of newer releases by authors I've been meaning to get to such as John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, and Jo Walton. It seems lie there is never enough time to read everything I'd like.

Thanks to all of my readers, and hopefully I'll have a lot more to bring you in 2007!



LibraryThing

2007-01-07T09:35:35.720-06:00

I signed up for a lifetime account with LibraryThing recently and ordered the :cuecat scanner which arrived yesterday. So I spent the evening scanning in my collection. So far I got my hard covers and trades scanned in. I'll probably get to the mmpbs this weekend.

Its a pretty nice inventory system, and is customizable. I really like it. Its free to try $10/yr or $25 for life. That's cheaper than many other software based applications I've seen. Out of over 200 books I only had trouble finding a couple, mainly with non US editions.

Here are the links.

my profile
my catalog