Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Books Received in April 2014, part 2

Myths and Legends: Wizards: From Merlin to Faust by David and Leslie McIntee - Osprey's Myths and Legends series is great if you want an introduction to the topic at hand.  I knew some of the wizards mentioned, but this book had a lot of great information, both in terms of the myths covered and the history behind the wizards.

From the wise and mysterious soothsayer with his long grey beard to the deathless necromancer practicing his dark magics in a forgotten dungeon, wizards have captured our imaginations since the earliest days of human storytelling, presenting us with some of our greatest heroes and villains. This book collects the tales of the most interesting, popular, and important spell-casters from history, including such legendary figures as Merlin, Simon Magus, Hermes Trismegistus, Koschei the Deathless, Nicholas Flamel, Dr John Dee, and Johann Georg Faust. Written to appeal to the modern reader, each tale captures the drama, the tragedy, and the wonderment that has ensured that these stories have survived the passing centuries. Each story is also examined in its historical, mythological, and thaumaturgical contexts.

Jade Sky by Patrick Freivald - This book just sounds cool.

Matt Rowley hasn't been human for years. A commando for the International Council on Augmented Phenomena, he hunts down superhuman monsters the military can't handle. But his abilities come with a price: bloodthirsty whispers that urge him to acts of terrible violence. An encounter with a giant, angelic being with wings of smoke and shadow casts him into a world of inhuman brutality, demonic possession, and madness, where he must choose between his family and his soul.

The Overslight by Charlie Fletcher - I'm currently reading this and it's quite interesting so far.  

"The end always happens faster than you think."
Once there were hundreds of members of the Oversight, the brave souls who guard the borders between the mundane and the magic. Now there are only five.
When a vagabond brings a screaming girl to the Oversight''s London headquarters, she could answer their hopes for new recruit, or she could be the instrument of their downfall.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison - I've heard a lot of good things about this debut.

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naive new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne-or his life.

The Time Traveler's Almanac by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, Ed. - This is quite a large volume, and I hope time constraints don't make it an impossible read for me (collections take longer to review than novels) because it really has a wide range of stories in it.

The Time Traveler's Almanac is the largest and most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled. Gathered into one volume by intrepid chrononauts and world-renowned anthologists Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, this book compiles more than a century's worth of literary travels into the past and the future that will serve to reacquaint readers with beloved classics of the time travel genre and introduce them to thrilling contemporary innovations.
This marvelous volume includes nearly seventy journeys through time from authors such as Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, H. G. Wells, and Connie Willis, as well as helpful non-fiction articles original to this volume (such as Charles Yu's "Top Ten Tips For Time Travelers").
In fact, this book is like a time machine of its very own, covering millions of years of Earth's history from the age of the dinosaurs through to strange and fascinating futures, spanning the ages from the beginning of time to its very end. The Time Traveler's Almanac is the ultimate anthology for the time traveler in "your" life.

Night Terrors by Tim Waggoner - Love the cover, love the synopsis.  Can't wait to read this.

When you dream, you visit the Maelstrom. Dream long enough and hard enough, and your dreams can break through into the living world.
So can your nightmares.
And who's there to catch the dreams and nightmares as they fall into reality?
Meet the Nightwatch. Pray you never need them...

The Buried Life by Carie Patel

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation - Recoletta's top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

Books Received in April 2014, part 1

April turned out to be a much busier month than I'd anticipated.  Though the World's Biggest Bookstore closed at the end of March, I was still scheduled a fair amount (partly for returns at the WBB, partly to work at other stores).  I'm hoping to catch up on my reading in May and put a serious dent in my review pile.  There are some great books out and more coming out every day. :)

The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan - This book is very high on my to be read pile.  I loved the first one and can't wait to get back into this world.

The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan's "The Tropic of Serpents . . . "
Attentive readers of Lady Trent's earlier memoir, "A Natural History of Dragons, " are already familiar with how a bookish and determined young woman named Isabella first set out on the historic course that would one day lead her to becoming the world's premier dragon naturalist. Now, in this remarkably candid second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career.
Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.
The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell . . . where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

Pillar To The Sky by William Forstchen - This is the first book of TOR's collaboration with NASA to help inspire and educate.

Pandemic drought, skyrocketing oil prices, dwindling energy supplies and wars of water scarcity threaten the planet. Only four people can prevent global chaos.
Gary Morgan--a brilliant, renegade scientist is pilloried by the scientific community for his belief in a space elevator: a pillar to the sky, which he believes will make space flight fast, simple and affordable.
Eva Morgan--a brilliant and beautiful scientist of Ukranian descent, she has had a lifelong obsession to build a pillar to the sky, a vertiginous tower which would mine the power of the sun and supply humanity with cheap, limitless energy forever.
Erich Rothenberg--the ancient but revered rocket-scientist who labored with von Braun to create the first rockets and continued on to build those of today. A legend, he has mentored Gary and Eva for two decades, nurturing and encouraging their transcendent vision.
Franklin Smith--the eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire who will champion their cause, wage war with Congress and government bureaucracy and most important, finance their herculean undertaking.
The Goddard Space Flight Center--the novel's pre-eminent hero, it's enormous army of scientists, engineers and astronauts will design, machine, and build the space elevator. They will fight endless battles and overcome countless obstacles every step of the way.
This journey to the stars will not be easy--a tumultuous struggle filled with violence and heroism, love and death, spellbinding beauty and heartbreaking betrayal. The stakes could not be higher. Humanity's salvation will hang in the balance.

Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler - I haven't heard much about this book, but it sounds pretty interesting.

Lord Scott Oken, a prince of Albion, and Professor-Prince Mikel Mabruke live in a world where the sun never set on the Egyptian Empire. In the year 1877 of Our Lord Julius Caesar, Pharaoh Djoser-George governs a sprawling realm that spans Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. When the European terrorist Otto von Bismarck touches off an international conspiracy, Scott and Mik are charged with exposing the plot against the Empire.
Their adventure takes them from the sands of Memphis to a lush New World, home of the Incan Tawantinsuyu, a rival empire across the glittering Atlantic Ocean. Encompassing Quetzal airships, operas, blood sacrifice and high diplomacy, Ramona Wheeler's "Three Princes" is a richly imagined, cinematic vision of a modern Egyptian Empire.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson - Book 2 of the Stormlight Archive.

Six years ago, the Assassin in White, a hireling of the inscrutable Parshendi, assassinated the Alethi king on the very night a treaty between men and Parshendi was being celebrated. So began the Vengeance Pact among the highprinces of Alethkar and the War of Reckoning against the Parshendi.
Now the Assassin is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin's master has much deeper motives.
Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status "darkeyes." Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.
Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.
Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

The Raven's Shadow by Elspeth Cooper

The Raven's Shadow, the third book of Elspeth Cooper's The Wild Hunt series finds war brewing on both sides of the Veil between the worlds. The desert of Gimrael is aflame with violence, and in the far north an ancient hatred is about to spill over into the renewal of a war that, a thousand years ago, forged an empire. This time, it may shatter one. Wrestling with his failing grip on the power of the Song, and still trying to come to terms with the horrifying events he witnessed in El Maqqam, Gair returns to the mainland with only one thing on his mind: vengeance. It may cost him his life, but when everything that he had to live for is being stripped away from him, that may be a fair price to pay. Old friends and old foes converge in a battle of wills to stem the tide of the Nimrothi clans as they charge south to reclaim the lands lost in the Founding Wars. If they succeed, the rest of the empire may be their next target. And with the Wild Hunt at their head, the overstretched Imperial Army may not be enough to stop them.

Cleopatra In Space: Target Practice by Mike Maihack

A funny, action-packed graphic novel featuring fifteen-year-old Cleopatra - yes, THAT Cleopatra - who''s transported to the future and learns it''s up to her to save the galaxy!

When fifteen-year-old Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian.

She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo''s style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she''s going to get her homework done, make friends, avoid detention, and everything else that comes with being the future queen of the universe!

The Night Inside by Nancy Baker

Dependable grad student Ardeth Alexander finds herself trapped in a nightmare as the unwilling blood source for a captive vampire. When she discovers that her fellow prisoner is not the worst monster she faces, she realizes that the only way to survive is to make an irrevocable choice.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Book Review: Wizards: From Merlin to Faust by David & Lesley McIntee

Illustrated by Mark Stacey

Pros: covers several wizards, lots of good information

Cons: too short!

Like the other books in Osprey’s Myths and Legends series, Wizards is a great jumping off point for further research on the topic.  The book covers a variety of wizards throughout history, first through an engaging story and then explaining what we know about the historical person or people that gave rise to the myths.  Some of the wizards you’ll encounter in this collection are Hermes, Virgil, Zhang Guo Lao, Nicholas Flamel and Dr. John Dee.  There’s a great mix of well known and not so well known figures and while most of the wizards mentioned are Western, there are a few famous Eastern wizards as well.  There are some great images, both historic and new ones commissioned for this volume.  

As with the other books, it is simply a beginners guide, and as such is definitely too short.  But it’s a great volume and if you’re interested in wizards, alchemy, the occult or fantasy, you’ll find this an interesting read. 

Amazing Stories teams up with FuturesPast Editions to publish classic stories

From the press release:

Amazing Stories is pleased to announce the licensing of it's iconic trademark – Amazing Stories – to FuturesPast Editions Ebooks Publisher for the creation of a new imprint that will publish classics of science fiction, fantasy and horror, works drawn from Amazing Stories and it's companion magazines Amazing Stories Quarterly and Amazing Stories Annual.

The new imprint will be titled AMAZING STORIES CLASSIC REPRINTS. The imprint will feature the comet tail Amazing Stories logo, made famous by the magazine in the 1940s and 50s. Works will be published in both electronic and print formats.

FuturesPast Editions publisher and editor Jean Marie Stine will be selecting works of historical importance as well as works that should be commonly available but haven't been for one reason or another. The series is expected to launch with two anthology volumes featuring stories from past Amazing Stories anniversary issues. (Readers looking for particular works are encouraged to let their desires be known!)

Amazing Stories is very excited about opening up this new collaboration with a respected and experienced publisher. We're looking forward to helping to bring back a lot of the classics of the genre and to provide yet another dimension to the world's first science fiction magazine."

About this new partnership, Jean Marie Stine says, "Amazing Stories has a long and storied history. It was the first science fiction magazine. Its pages were open to women writers from the beginning. It introduced Buck Rogers to the world. It published the first stories by Jack Williamson, Isaac Asimov, Walter M. Miller, Jr, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Howard Fast, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Roger Zelazny. Over the years it has published virtually every major writer in the field. We at FuturesPast Editions are thrilled to be associated with Amazing Stories, Experimenter Publishing and Steve Davidson. We look forward to a long and successful association."

Additionally, Amazing Stories online magazine will feature a regularly monthly classic reprint, branded under the FuturesPast Editions name; the first such classic reprint – Don Wilcox's The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years – was featured in the Amazing Stories 88th Anniversary Edition, currently being published on the Amazing Stories website.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Nancy Kilpatrick Mini Tour in Western Canada

From the Press Release:

Nancy Kilpatrick's mini-tour

Horror author and editor Nancy Kilpatrick will be reading and signing inCalgary, Edmonton and Vancouver on her way to the World Horror Con in Portland Oregon. For your convenience here are the dates for all three cities along the tour.

Fish Creek Library
11161 Bonaventure Dr SE
Calgary, AB
7:00 pm
(Sponsored by the Calgary Public Library)
Facebook events page: Click Here.

Whitemud Crossing Library
4211 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB
7:00 pm
(Sponsored by the Edmonton Public Library)
Facebook events page: Click Here.

The Grind
Gallery & Coffee Bar
4124 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
7:00-8:30 pm
(Sponsored by The Grind Gallery & Coffee Bar)

About Nancy Kilpatrick:

Award-winning author Nancy Kilpatrick has published eighteen novels, over one hundred and ninety short stories, five collections of stories, and has edited nine other anthologies. Much of her body of work involves vampires. Nancy writes dark fantasy, horror, mysteries and erotic horror, under her own name, her nom de plume Amarantha Knight, and her newest pen name Desirée Knight (Amarantha’s younger sister!) Besides writing novels and short stories, and editing anthologies, she has scripted four issues of VampErotic comics. As well, she’s penned radio scripts, a stage-play, and the non-fiction book The Goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined.

Nancy won the Arthur Ellis Award for best mystery story, is a three times Bram Stoker finalist and a five times finalist for the Aurora Award.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Shout-Out: Scan by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine

From the press release:

The book, described as a cross between MacGyver and War of the Worlds with shades of I Am Number Four, is a grounded, high-action YA thriller about a 16-year-old boy who has been preparing his whole life for "something important," only to discover it means he's one of the last humans left on Earth.

The cover blurb:

Tate and his father don't exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he's being prepared for when he steals one of his dad's odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

Even with all he knows like how to defend himself with useful tools made out of bubblegum, Tate fears he's still inadequate. With the help of his girlfriend and estranged mother, all Tate can really do is keep moving and ensure his father's invention stays out of the hands of his pursuers and that his father didn't die in vain.

Out May 6.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Stamps - Technology

Over the years my grandmother bought a ton of stamp sets for the kids who collected them.  But over time the kids stopped collecting the stamps but she kept on buying them.  Some of the sets have made their way to me, one of which dealt with technological advances.

It's cool to see what things various countries have commemorated via stamps.  This set had stamps from Australia, Indonesia, Antigua, the Republic of Congo, Belgium, Rwanda, Germany, etc.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Movie Review: Grabbers

Directed by: Jon Wright, 2012

Pros: decent looking monster, fun characters, humorous


When workaholic Garda Lisa Nolan comes to an island off the cost of Ireland to cover for a co-worker, she’s not expecting her new partner to show up drunk.  Nor is she expecting alien sea monsters to attack.  Luckily, the blood drinking creatures don’t like alcohol in their meals.

Leaving aside the origin of the monsters, this is a fun, entertaining horror film that will remind you of Tremors.  The special effects are pretty good, the acting is excellent, and the characters fun.  While I didn’t find it laugh out loud funny, there are some humorous bits.  It’s a decent time waster.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Movie Trailer: Earth to Echo

Looks like an ET remake, only with MUCH better special effects.  Not keen on the hand held camera format though.  I can't stand shaky cam.  The film hits theatres July 2nd.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Book Review: Rebellion by Karen Sandler

Pros: realistic political, racial and cultural complications; bhimkays; satisfying ending  

Cons: Kayla’s suspicious actions in her room would have brought attention to her schemes; rushed secondary romance

This is the third book in Sandler’s excellent Tankborn trilogy.  I will try to keep this review spoiler free, but there will be hints of plot that you may wish to avoid if you haven’t read the previous books.

This book picks up two months after the events of Awakening.  Kayla and Devak, separated by events, still long for each other.  The Kindred’s goals have shifted and the FHE’s mysterious - and deadly - goals are reaching fruition.

As with the previous books the world building is phenomenal.  I loved that we got to see more of the bhimkays (giant spiders).

In a few ways this book reminded me of Mockingjay, another YA novel that dealt with rebellion in a dystopian society.  As with that book, Rebellion shows that no sides in such conflicts have the welfare of the general population in mind.  In some ways Rebellion does a better job than Mockingjay, as it has dual protagonists, one at the bottom of society and one at the top.  And it’s interesting seeing how different strata of society respond to the bombings and breakdown of security.  The GENs (genetically engineered non-humans, the ’tankborns’ of the series name), slaves of the trueborns, always getting the worst of every situation, become angry, some wanting to fight but others only wanting freedom.  The high status trueborns meanwhile, try to maintain control, even when it makes things worse for themselves and the trueborns below them in status, with more and more restrictions and potential abuses of power.  Even Devak, in love with a GEN and actively working to change society discovers how difficult it is to erase years of social conditioning - both concerning his own status and how he reacts to the GENs around him, who don’t know him or how he’s helped their cause.

Sandler doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to examining race and social status in this book.  And it’s refreshing to see someone ask difficult questions.  There are no easy answers here - or in real life - and she shows that these issues are complex for everyone.  The GENs want freedom but the way FHE goes about achieving it makes life harder for those they’re ostensibly trying to help.  Meanwhile it’s easy to see how the trueborns, used to privilege and power, refuse to give those up.  And this includes the trueborns involved with both the Kindred and the FHE.  It’s easy to talk about equality for all, but it’s hard to realize it - for all sides. 

I personally found the ending satisfying, with enough closure to make readers happy but with enough things about society still in flux to be believable given all that happened.

One thing about the book that I questioned was that Kayla and her roommate start talking over their internal communications systems to avoid the monitoring of their room.  I wondered why no one ever questioned what they were doing, sitting silently in their room.  Once or twice one of them responds aloud, an act I would have assumed would give them away.  

These next two items didn’t bother me as much, but some aspects of Devak’s quest happened too coincidentally to be believable and Junjie’s relationship was too rushed, as the two barely knew each other.  

Rebellion is a good conclusion to a great series that asks some tough questions while telling an interesting story.  If you haven’t picked these up yet, you’re really missing out.

Out April 25th.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Shout-Out: Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson

To weary Viking Ulfar Thormodsson, the town of Stenvik is the penultimate stop on the return leg of a long and perilous journey. It has been particularly challenging for Thormodsson, who has been charged with protecting the life of his high-born cousin. Having traveled the oceans of the world for two years, all he wants is to go home. But Stenvik awaits. 
The small coastal town is home to a colorful array of individuals, from the beautiful and tragic Lilia, who captures Thormodsson's rough heart, to solitary blacksmith Audun Arngrimsson, whose past hides many dark secrets. The travel-worn Vikings also discover that King Olav is marching on Stenvik from the east, determined to bring the White Christ to the masses at the point of his sword-even as a host of bloodthirsty raiders led by a mysterious woman sails from the north.
Meanwhile, there is trouble brewing between two of the town's competing factions, a conflict that threatens to sweep all of them, natives and visitors alike, into the jaws of war. Thormodsson and his companions soon learn that in this conflict between the old gods and the new, there are enemies everywhere-outside the walls of Stenvik as well as within.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Recommended Reading by Professionals... with Leah Bobet

In this series, I ask various publishing professionals (including authors, bloggers, editors, agents etc.) to recommend 2-3 authors or books they feel haven't received the recognition they deserve.

Today's recommendations are by Leah Bobet. Leah Bobet's first novel, Above, was nominated for the 2012 Andre Norton Award and the 2013 Aurora Award, and her short fiction has appeared in several Year's Best anthologies and as part of online serial Shadow Unit.  She lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she edits Ideomancer Speculative Fiction, picks urban apple trees, does civic engagement activism, and works as a bookseller at Bakka-Phoenix Books, Canada's oldest science fiction bookstore.  Leah's second novel, On Roadstead Farm—a literary dustbowl fantasy where stuff blows up—will appear from Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2015.

Recommending books is a bit of a tricky business: No book's all good or all bad, just good or bad for that reader and what they enjoy in a story. That said, as a reader who loves character-driven, literary SFF which displays an author's sheer skill, here are a few books I think deserve much, much more love:

  1. Desideria by Nicole Kornher-Stace

    Nicole Kornher-Stace's first novel flew way too far under the radar when it came out in 2008, and deserves to be handed to any fan of Caitlin R. Kiernan, China Miéville, Catherynne M. Valente, or Gemma Files. Set in a created city that's not-quite-French, not-quite-Renaissance, Desideria plunges us into the mystery of how its protagonist, amnesiac actress Ange St. Loup, ended up in a madhouse accused of arson and murder—and tells the story of her theatre company's last, fateful play. Where the sheer, impressive ambition comes in is in the third strand of the story: The text of the play itself, written in its own voice, with its own flair and style, tying both Ange's fate, the theatre's, and the company's together. If you're not a structural reader, it's daunting. If you are? It's brilliant. Kornher-Stace's rich, lyrical prose bolsters and ornaments that structure, in the most literal sense of the word: wordcraft to enhance what's already there, which is stylistically gorgeous on a sentence-by-sentence level and transparent enough to not get between the reader and the story.

    The one drawback is the pace: Desideria starts slow, and demands patience in the first quarter before it starts to roll full-speed. I'd personally recommend giving it that patience. I found the results ultimately worthwhile.

  2. Finder by Carla Speed McNeil

    Finder has been quietly drawn and written and published since 1996—sometimes in colour, sometimes in black and white—and it is some of the best science fiction work I've ever read: a far-future Earth replete with nomads and domed city-states, massive corporate culture, and an overwhelming sense of socially aware, intelligent wonder. It's been celebrated to the moon and back in comics, and I'm barely sure anyone in SFF has read it.It's also, quietly, one of the most diverse works of science fiction I've ever read: described by its creator as "aboriginal science fiction," its regular cast includes a half-aboriginal protagonist, a South Asian polyamorous academic, a genderfluid teenager, and whole piles of very different assumptions on how people do being people. It's not quite Samuel Delaney, not quite Ursula Le Guin, not quite a lot of things while it tells some incredibly moving stories on the backdrop of this world: The fourth installment, Talisman, is one of the most moving love letters to reading, writing, and books I've ever read.

    Start at the beginning: While Finder doesn't need to be read in order, I find it helps.

  3. Resurrection Man by Sean Stewart

    Sean Stewart's work is largely hard to find these days: Sean Stewart has moved onto games writing, and with the exception of a few titles reprinted by Small Beer Press and the award-winning Galveston, his novels are mostly out of print.

    Which is too bad, because this book is my heart.

    Resurrection Man deals with some of the perennial Stewart topics: families, and the shattering
    and mending thereof; what to do when you discover you’re really a rather bad and selfish man;
    getting your balance in a world that’s broken; putting the broken right. On a holiday home, Dante Ratkay—scientist, sibling, with the power to see secrets and omens in a world where magic's leaking slowly through the streets—finds his own corpse laid out in the boathouse, and what it spills are the secrets, needs, and tensions in his large and loving family. The outcome is glorious. And tragic. And right.

    Stewart's prose is utterly beautiful: It is a musical instrument, delicate and restrained until it's slicing open your belly. He never shies away from acknowledging the complexity of other human beings, and of our own messy selves. The world he builds here, and in companion novels Galveston and The Night Watch, is doom-tinged with subtle magic that takes your breath away.

    If I could bribe any author to write just one more book, it would be him.

Stay tuned for the next post where we get more reading recommendations!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Stranger Than Fiction: The Germanic Tribes

A column dedicated to pointing out interesting tidbits of history, some of which would be cool to see in a fantasy novel or two.

The Germanic Tribes
Written by Alexander Hogh and Judith Voelker, Directed by Alexander Hogh, 2008

The four-part documentary brought out a lot of great information, showing how using a mixture of written records and archaeological evidence allows modern historians to extrapolate how the Germanic peoples lived two thousand years ago.  Each episode they created a fake person, someone who ‘might have lived’, to follow, as a narrative thread.  But I personally found the fake quotes that mingled with the historical ones distracting, as it was easy to forget that these characters weren’t based on actual recorded lives. 

The documentary goes over the Roman conquest, the Germanic push back, a time of co-operation and the introduction of Christianity.  

I know very little about this period of history, so this miniseries was full of interesting tidbits like:

- the Romans called the barbarian tribes and location, Germania, from which we get the name Germany
- just how far the West the Romans conquered
- Romans considered German tribesmen formidable warriors and good for bodyguards (as they didn’t care about Roman politics)
- people in Germania played lyres and followed some Roman religious beliefs
- Hadrian built a wall of wood and dirt through Germany to mark the end of Roman territory a few years before he built the stone wall in Northern England
- the Germanic tribes raided other tribes for slaves
- the Germanic tribes used Runic writing & worshiped the same gods as the Scandinavians
- gladiatorial fights were hosted in conquered regions of modern day Germany
- the origin of the Fleur de Lis symbol of France came from Medieval representations of Clovis (frogs on his garment, depicting his ‘evil pagan beliefs’ [the frog/toad is a symbol of lying] turn into lilies upon his baptism)

- Allemagne [the French word for Germany] comes from the Germanic tribe/confederation, the Alemanni (also spelled Alamanni and Alamani), who were conquered by the Frankish king Clovis. [According to wikipedia, the word ‘Alemanni’ meant ‘all men’, though only their enemies used it.  Those particular tribesmen called themselves Suebi.  On reading about the various modern names for Germany and where they come from, the German name for Germany (Deutschland) comes from the Old High German word diutisc, which meant ‘of the people’ or ‘folk’]

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Shout-Out: Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard

A prince with a quest. A commoner with mysterious powers. And dragons that demand to be freed —at any cost.
Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren't big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire's control.
Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it's not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn't allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen. Torn between Corin's quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Book Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Pros: political intrigue, some empathetic characters

Cons: Auranos royalty was irritating, very fake siege and war

For Parents: some violence, off page sex 

The lands of Mytica are slowly dying, their magic draining away.  Magnus, prince of Valoria, forced to cut himself off from his emotions in order to deal with his abusive father and distant mother, is very protective of the younger sister, Lucia, he loves too much.  But Lucia is more than he or she knows, heiress of a vast power she’s about to come into.

Cleo is the spoiled younger princess of Auranos.  On an excursion to the dying land of Palsia, known for their fine wine and nothing else, her friend, the arrogant Lord Aron Lagaris, kills a vintner’s son.  The victim’s brother, Jonas, swears vengeance.

War is coming to the 3 lands of Mytica.  And the actions of these teens is the spark that ignites it.

I wanted to like this book, I mean, I really did.  The cover is gorgeous and the plot sounds so interesting.  

The good: The author had some great politics going on.  There’s a lot of intrigue among the three countries, and part of Palsia’s troubles are due to trade agreements made in the past that are only now causing major problems (deals very similar to ones made by African nations in the real world).

I loved Magnus.  His attempts to keep his emotions hidden even as he falls in love with his sister - the only person who shows him any kindness and consideration - is heartbreaking.  The author’s attempts to make him evil just made me pity him more.  I loved his entire storyline, and that of Lucia.

I found Jonas an interesting character.  Not quite as sympathetic as Magnus, despite the tragedy he experiences, his actions at least follow through from that action.  And while I’m not sure I believe what he does at the end of the book, again, his decision stems from what’s gone before.

The bad: I hated Cleo.  She’s got a few redeeming features, like she’s sorry the vintner’s son dies, but she’s selfish in her sorrow.  She does nothing to redress what happened, sends no funds to help the family afterwards or the land she knows is dying, even as hers flourishes.  She makes some truly, truly horrible decisions.  Decisions that someone her age, in her position, should never make.  Her older sister is dying for the dumbest reason, which ends up causing added problems for their kingdom.  I’ll explain more about these in the spoilers section.

Cleo never seemed to learn from her mistakes.  I could understand how certain things happened - life gets out of control sometimes, especially when you’re 16.  But things keep happening and she never seems to make better decisions.  At one point she believes that having a hissy fit will save her from one of her father’s decisions.  If that’s not entitlement, I don’t know what is.

My final point - the one that made me almost throw the book across the room in frustrated anger, deals with the ending, so it’s in the spoiler section below.

I wanted to like this book but didn’t.  I forced myself to finish and I’m not sure why.  It had a lot of promise, but too many of the characters rubbed me the wrong way and too many actions made no sense for me to continue with the series.


Jonas - at the end of the book he decides he’d rather help Cleo than see his country annexed by Limeros.  I can understand he doesn’t want the annexation to stand, but while Cleo explains earlier that she’s sorry his brother is dead she was still in a position to have saved him and didn’t.  And she does nothing to rectify the mistake.  So I can’t see him following her.

Cleo - her decision to search Palsia for magic seeds to save her sister is ridiculous.  She knows the country is experiencing unrest due to her actions and yet she goes there anyway, chasing a story that - if true - would have saved Palsia.  I also didn’t understand why the witch, when encountered, gave Cleo the seeds.  In her note the witch praises Cleo’s honesty - when Cleo told her nothing but lies.  Yes, Cleo did say the seeds were to save her sister, but that’s the only truth that came from her mouth beyond her name.  Seems to me the which could have been helping her own people rather than saving another spoiled princess.

And make no mistake, Emilia was a spoiled princess, despite her otherwise desire to subsume her needs for that of her kingdom.  She wasn’t, after all, sick.  She was dying of a broken heart.  She literally chose to die because the man she loved (who was at least 35 years older than her - he had a 20 year old son) accidentally died.

My last complaint deals with the siege / war at the end of the book.

OK, if you’re attacking a fortified castle complex you need more than 5000 men.  Especially if you’re not bringing any siege engines of any kind, ladders, sappers or anything else that might help you get past the walls.  Most sieges worked because they starved out the inhabitants.  In this book the ‘siege’ lasts - I kid you not - 3 days.  Yup, 3 days.  And the attacking army is running out of food, having no supply train set up to feed the peasant troops (the wealthier, armoured troops we’re told do have food).  For some reason the defending army decides to leave their fortifications and fight on the field.  Not sure why when they’ve got this wall behind which to throw things at the enemy.  The attacking fighters manage to breach the walls - without any siege weapons mentioned at all - after 12 hours of straight fighting, no breaks.  Not sure how that worked, as most battles lasted a few hours and than broke apart so people could rest and tend their wounded (or surrender/run away).  Not to mention, with only 5000 men, I’d have expected the fighting to end much earlier.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Shout-Out: Cypher by S. E. Bennett

Cipher Omega is sixteen years old and a failed experiment.
She is an identical clone of the brilliant, damaged woman whose genome the scientists of the Basement were trying to copy and improve. Without the modifications they wanted, she isn't just worthless: she's a liability, a ticking time bomb of instincts and human weakness.
All her life she has dreamt of the freedom of life outside the laboratory, on the surface world, but when her home is destroyed and she's left the only survivor of a hundred-year human cloning project, she is forced to face the reality of the military-ruled nation that created her.

Aided by the only other surviving child of the Basement, an enigmatic solider named Tor, and two rebel journalists named Bowen and Oona Rivers, Cipher finds herself searching for answers in the wreckage of a once-great city.
When the time comes, will she be able to chose between freedom and love?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Fantasy Cafe's Women in SF&F Month

Kristen over at Fantasy Cafe is in the middle of her 3rd Women in SF&F month.  It's got some great articles by authors, including ones by: Anne Lyle, Alex HughesBeth Bernobich, and M. L. Brennan.  She's also teamed up with Renay from Lady Business to create - over the past few years - a giant list of women who write SF&F.  She's got some giveaways too, so be sure to check out her site.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Movie Review: Dark Star

Directed by: John Carpenter, 1974

Pros: existential bomb, humorous diary entries

Cons: cheesy special effects, pointless story, boring

Things start to go disastrously wrong for the crew of a space ship, 20 years into its mission of locating and destroying planets with deteriorating orbits around potentially colonizable star systems.

I was wondering, as I turned on this film, what makes some movies classics and others forgettable.  Why have I seen Alien numerous times, but never heard of Dark Star until fairly recently?

Then I watched the film.  Ah, that’s why I’ve never heard of it.  It’s not very good.  Passing over the special effects, which would have been decent for their time, if cheesy for modern viewers, the movie itself is pretty bad.  The plot is thin, the dialogue insipid and boring, and the action often nonsensical.  

According to IMDb it’s a comedy sci-fi film.  It might have helped had I known that going in.  I can see how a lot of the things that didn’t make sense might have been that way for comedic relief, but I wouldn’t say anything in the film struck me as particularly funny, aside from the smart bombs and Sargent Pinback’s diary entries.  There’s an alien that’s made up of a painted beach-ball with rubber hands.  To get to the airlock you have to crawl over a wooden plank across the elevator shaft (which became the location of 20 minutes of footage).  No one on the crew really talked to each other, which causes one of the major conflicts at the end of the film.  And the whole ship is covered in junk I doubt a real space mission crew would have brought on board.  

I’m not sure if my impression of the film would have benefited knowing it wasn’t meant to be a serious film before hand, but it couldn’t have hurt.  I like a lot of John Carpenter’s other films and was expecting something more serious/horror.  If you decide to see this, go in with low expectations.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Shout-Out: Traitor's Blade by Sebastien De Castell

The King is dead, the Greatcoats have been disbanded, and Falcio Val Mond and his fellow magistrates Kest and Brasti have been reduced to working as bodyguards. Things could be worse. Their employer could be lying dead on the floor while the killer plants evidence framing them for the murder. Oh wait, that's exactly what's happening…

Now a royal conspiracy is about to unfold in the most corrupt city in the world. A carefully orchestrated series of murders that began with the overthrow of an idealistic young king will end with the death of an orphaned girl and the ruin of everything that Falcio, Kest, and Brasti have fought for. But if the trio want to foil the conspiracy, save the girl, and reunite the Greatcoats, they'll have to do it with nothing but the tattered coats on their backs and the swords in their hands, because these days every noble is a tyrant, every knight is a thug, and the only thing you can really trust is a traitor's blade.

Webseries: Sync

This is the director's cut of a webseries CorridorDigital (the people who did the Superman With a GoPro video) did for another channel and has now put up - in movie format - on their own channel.

The special effects are quite good and it's got a better story than a lot of Hollywood SF films.

The synopsis:

Charlie Cooper is a special agent of the future - the mind of a man running entirely on a computer, able to transfer his consciousness to bio-mechanical bodies at will. But when a computer virus corrupts his system, he must face one of his greatest challenges yet: mortality.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Graphic Novel Review: Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Pros: fun protagonist, cute story, expressive artwork


When Zita finds a strange device in a meteoroid and pushes the button on it her friend Joseph is pulled through the rift that opens.  She reacts as any young girl would, by running away and pretending nothing bad just happened.  Then she gathers her courage, pushes the button again, and jumps through the rift to go find her friend.  Her quest to rescue Joseph takes her to an alien planet that’s facing its final days.

Zita’s expression when her friend disappears and her subsequent attempt to run and hide reminded me of the times I did something bad as a kid and tried to make it go away by ignoring the problem.  But just as in real life, Zita’s forced to confront her error and make it right.  

Zita’s a personable girl, with a lot of courage and heart.  She makes friends easily, finding several creatures willing to help her out.

The artwork is very expressive, giving the characters a lot of personality to match the dialogue.

The plot is quick moving, with a few twists.  Things wrap up well enough at the end of this comic, but there are 2 other books in the series, Legends of Zita the Spacegirl and Return of Zita the Spacegirl (which comes out in May).  The three books together make up the completed story arc.

This is a great kid friendly graphic novel that will inspire readers and hopefully encourage them to read more SF and fantasy adventures.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Shout-Out: Lexicon by Max Barry

Now out in trade paperback with a MUCH better cover.

At an exclusive training school at an undisclosed location outside Washington, D.C., students are taught to control minds, to wield words as weapons. The very best graduate as “poets and enter a nameless organization of unknown purpose. Recruited off the street, whip-smart Emily Ruff quickly learns the one key rule: never allow another person to truly know you. Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy, until she makes the catastrophic mistake of falling in love.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

What Word Best Describes You?

This is something I've seen go through the crafting circles I belong to.  The idea is to pick a word that epitomises you or a word whose meaning you want to achieve in your life.

So why mention it here?  Because one of my mangers recently introduced me to the word that's become the meaning of my life and I suspect it's a word that will resonate with a lot of my readers.

It's a Japanese word,

積ん読  (つんどく)
tsundoku: the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other such unread books

Because I get so many review books now, any books I buy end up on the bottom of my to be read pile. And I've got a lot of them, especially with the closing sale we had recently. 

So, got any tsundoku happening at your house?

What word best describes you?

Friday, 4 April 2014

Book Review: Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead , edited by John Taylor

Pros: lots of gorgeous coloured photos, detailed chapters, covers numerous aspects surrounding death and the afterlife

Cons: no complete text translation

This is a gorgeous pictorial overview of what we call the Egyptian Book of the Dead and what the ancient Egyptians called The Book of Coming Forth by Day.  It evolved over time as a collection of knowledge and spells designed to help those for whom they were made, and with whom they were buried, find their way through the perils of the afterlife and judgement so they could ‘live’ again.

Journey Through the Afterlife takes examples from dozens of papyrus roles that have been recovered to discuss their purpose, the Egyptian view of death and the afterlife, burial practices and the act of preparing the rolls themselves. 

Each chapter ends with several examples of what was discussed, often including supplementary information in their explanatory passages.

I was surprised by how many of the medieval views of magic (which I studied in university and elsewhere) started in Egypt.  For example: the belief that words have power, both when spoken and written.  The use of amulets.  The importance of knowing the true name of spirits/gods/demons in order to have power over them.  Making protective circles drawn with ‘wands’.  Using ‘virgin’ (unused) papyrus (in the middle ages it would have been unused parchment) for spells.  The importance of ritual in the efficacy of magic, etc.

It would have been nice had a translation of the full text of the Egyptian Book of the Dead been included, but as this book is intended as a companion guide to the texts, it’s not surprising they didn’t have room for it.  

The is a beautiful and highly informative book if you have an interest in ancient Egypt, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, views of the afterlife or the ancient practice of magic.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Movie Trailer: Lucy

This movie looks amazing.

Set in a futuristic world that is run by the mob, street gangs, drug addicts and corrupted cops, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), a woman living in Taipei, Taiwan, 2069 AD, works as a drug mule for the mob. The drug she inadvertently takes goes into her system, changing her into a metahuman. She can absorb knowledge instantaneously, is able to move objects with her mind and can't feel pain and other discomforts.

TED Talk: Hugh Herr, The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance

TED has a lot of great talks on a lot of great topics and this one is no exception.  It's amazing how far we've come with regards to prosthetic limbs and bionics.

My favourite quote from the talk:

13:38It's not well appreciated, but over half of the world's population suffers from some form of cognitive,emotional, sensory or motor condition, and because of poor technology, too often, conditions result in disability and a poorer quality of life. Basic levels of physiological function should be a part of our human rights. Every person should have the right to live life without disability if they so choose -- the right to live life without severe depression; the right to see a loved one in the case of seeing impaired; or the right to walk or to dance, in the case of limb paralysis or limb amputation. As a society, we can achieve these human rights if we accept the proposition that humans are not disabled. A person can never be broken.Our built environment, our technologies, are broken and disabled. We the people need not accept our limitations, but can transcend disability through technological innovation. Indeed, through fundamental advances in bionics in this century, we will set the technological foundation for an enhanced human experience, and we will end disability. (13:38-14:51)

I tried embedding the video and for some reason it wouldn't work, so here's the link.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Shout-Out: The Finisher by David Baldacci

Why would Quentin Herms flee into the Quag? There was nothing in the Quag except certain death.

Vega Jane has never left the village of Wormwood. But this isn't unusual - nobody has ever left the village of Wormwood. At least not until Quentin Herms vanishes into the unknown.

Vega knows Quentin didn't just leave - he was chased. And he's left behind a very dangerous trail of clues that only she can decode.

The Quag is a dark forest filled with terrifying beasts and bloodthirsty Outliers. But just as deadly are the threats that exist within the walls of Wormwood. It is a place built on lies, where influential people are willing to kill to keep their secrets. Vega is determined to uncover the truth - but the closer she gets, the more she risks her life.

Book Review: Talus and the Frozen King by Graham Edwards

Pros: intricate mystery, interesting characters

Cons: slow opening, characters never seem to sleep

Talus, a widely travelled bard, and his companion, Bran, a former fisherman, arrive at a Northern island the day after their king has died.  A quick examination of the body reveals that the king was murdered, and Talus offers to help find the killer.

Talus is basically a neolithic age Sherlock Holmes.  He examines the evidence and observes the world closely to see what others miss.  And while he doesn’t use much in the way of scientific deduction, he is highly observant and has a personality that alternates between charming (when he’s telling a story) and abrasive (when he’s exhorting Bran to pay attention and see what’s happening around him).  Also like Sherlock, he’s not very good when it comes to relationship matters, and so tends to miss some of the human clues that crop up.

Which is where Bran comes in.  Bran is hot tempered and still grieving the loss of his wife and the use of his right hand, which was seriously injured the day she died.  He misses a lot of subtle clues but prompts Talus with regards to some of the more human elements of the case.

There are two strong women from the isles who have fairly prominent roles, while maintaining historical deference to the men around them.

The mystery is complex and while it takes a while for the more intricate details to come up, by the end of the book there’s quite a knot of intrigue to untangle.

This is historical fiction and the only fantasy style elements - if you can call them that - are the character’s beliefs in various gods and a judgement style afterlife. 

My only complaint with the book is that the action takes place within a few days and the protagonists are constantly on the move.  Even after Bran exclaims his exhaustion he and Talus never seem to actually sleep, as they deal with one crisis after another.

The book is fairly slow moving, focusing as much on character as on the mystery.  If you like historical fiction and/or interesting mysteries, give this book a try.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Science Fiction and Fantasy Coming in May, 2014

Due to a lack of time I haven't included the YA books this month.  The listings are from Amazon Canada and reflect Canadian release dates.


Deadly Shores – Taylor Anderson
Mirror Sight – Kristen Britain
Skin Game – Jim Butcher
The Girl in the Road – Monica Byrne
Steadfast – Jack Campbell
Thief’s Magic – Trudi Canavan
Queen of Dark Things – C. Robert Cargill
Strange Country – Deborah Coates
The Severed Streets – Paul Cornell
Klingon Art of War – Keith DeCandido
Sergeant Chip and Other Novellas – Bradley Denton
The Chronicle of Secret Riven – Ronlyn Domingue
American Craftsmen – Tom Doyle
The Sea Without a Shore – David Drake
World of Warcraft: War Crimes – Christie Golden
Midnight Crossroad – Charlaine Harris
Nebula Awards Showcase 2014 – Kij Johnson, Ed.
A Mountain Walked – S. T. Joshi, Ed.
Hy Brazil – Gerald Killingworth
Garry Kilworth SF Gateway Omnibus – Garry Kilworth
Bastion – Mercedes Lackey
The Collected Short Stories of R. Al Lafferty, vol 2 – R. A. Lafferty
Nine Open Arms – Benny Lindelauf
Artemis Awakening – Jane Lindskold
Cyador’s Heirs – L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Crown of Renewal – Elizabeth Moon
The Bees – Laline Paul
Gemsigns – Stephanie Saulter
Amtrack Wars: Blood River – Patrick Tilley
Beowulf – J. R. R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien
Farmer Giles of Ham – J. R. R. Tolkien
Space Trash – John Walker
My Real Children – Jo Walton

Trade Paperback:

The World Walker – M. W. Albeer
Son of the Morning – Mark Alder
Clockwork Angels – Kevin Anderson
Polity Agent – Neal Asher
Elves – James Barclay
The Pillars of Sand – Mark Barnes
Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice - Stephen Baxter
Barrington Bayley SF Gateway Omnibus – Barrington Bayley
Carnal Sacraments – Petty Brass
Treasure Planet – Hal Colebatch & Jessica Fox
D. G. Compton Sf Gateway Omnibus – D. G. Compton
Sung in Blood – Glen Cook
Edmund Cooper SF Gateway Omnibus – Edmund Cooper
A Dance of Shadows – David Dalglish
Dragon Queen – Stephen Deas
Warhammer 40K: Honour Imperialis – Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Rob Sanders & Steve Lyons
Sixteen Small Deaths – Christopher Dwyer
The Oversight – Charlie Fletcher
Alphanumeric – Nicholas Forzy
The Stranger’s Shadow – Max Frei
Jade Sky – Patrick Freivald
Exodus of the Xandim – Maggie Furey
The Polaris Whisper – Ken Gregory
Magic City: Recent Spells – Paula Guran, Ed.
The Quiet Earth – Craig Harrison & Bernard Beckett
The Assassin King – Elizabeth Haydon
Warhammer 40K: Commisar – Andy Hoare
Sanctuary – G. Michael Hopf
SynBio – Leslie Horvitz
Knight’s Dawn – Kim Hunter
Scabbard’s Song – Kim Hunter
Wizard’s Funeral – Kim Hunter
Highfell Grimoires – Langley Hyde
The Rainbow King – Chris Ingram
City of the Iron Fish – Simon Ings
Hot Heads – Simon Ings
Hotwire – Simon Ings
Wolves – Simon Ings
The Rabbit Back Literature Society – Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen & Lola Rogers
21st Century Robot: The Dr. Simon Egerton Stories – Brian David Johnson
Elysian Fields – Suzanne Johnson
The Year of the Ladybird – Graham Joyce
Rewired – Alex Keller
Zombie, Indiana – Scott Kenemore
The Twelve Kingdoms – Jeffe Kennedy
The Goddess Chronicle – Natsuo Kirino & Rebecca Copeland
Bald New World – Peter Tieryas Liu
Apocalypse Z: The Wrath of the Just – Manel Loureiro
The System – Gemma Malley
The Disestablishment of Paradise – Phillip Mann
The Enceladus Crisis – Michael Martinez
The Falconer – Elizabeth May
Evening’s Empires – Paul McAuley
The Devereaux Disaster – Steve McEllistrem
Sparrow Hill Road – Seanan McGuire
Myths & Legends: Wizards: From Merlin to Faust – David McIntee & Mark Stacey
Defenders – Will McIntosh
Among the Unseen – Jodi McIsaac
Unforgiven – Cat Miller
Delia’s Shadow – Jaime Lee Moyer
Secret of the Stars – Andre Norton
Tales from High Hallack: The Collected Short Stories of Andre Norton, vol 2 – Andre Norton
House of the Rising Sun – Kristen Painter
Running Toward Home – M. B. Panichi
The Boy With the Porcelain Blade – Den Patrick
The Kassa Gambit – M. C. Planck
Fractal Prince – Hannu Rajaniemi
Metamorphosis – David Saperstein
The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon
Science Fiction 101 – Robert Silverberg, Ed.
The Whispering Muse – Sjon
John Sladek SF Gateway Omnibus – John Sladek 
E. E. “Doc” Smith SF Gateway Omnibus – E. E. “Doc” Smith
The Girl With the Scar – William Stadler
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, vol 8 – Jonathan Strahan, Ed.
The Fall of Arthur – J.R.R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien
E. C. Tubb SF Gateway Omnibus – E. C. Tubb
Authority – Jeff Vandermeer
Writers of the Future, vol 30 – Various
Destiny Quest: The Eye of Winter’s Fury – Michael Ward
The Wizard Lord – Lawrence Watt-Evans
Sea Change – S. M. Wheeler
The Very Best of Tad Williams – Tad Williams
The Silk Map – Chris Willrich
The Chronoliths – Robert Charles Wilson
The War of the Grail – Geoffrey Wilson

Mass Market Paperback:

Storm Surge – Taylor Anderson
Rogue Angel: Grendel’s Curse – Alex Archer
White Heart of Justice – Jill Archer
The Last President – John Barnes
Banishing the Dark – Jenn Bennett
Uprising – Sarah Cawkwell
Warbound – Larry Correia
Godzilla – Greg Cox
Dark Matter – Ian Douglas
Forgotten Realms: The Adversary – Erin Evans
Star Trek: One Constant Star – David George III
Witches in Red – Barb Hendee
Noah’s Boy – Sarah Hoyt
Sworn in Steel – Douglas Hulick
The Way to Babylon – Paul Kearney
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm – Greg Keyes
Alien Collective – Gini Koch
Deeply Odd – Dean Koontz
Warhammer 40K: Vulkan Lives – Nick Kyme
Emperor of Thorns – Mark Lawrence
The Remaining – D. J. Molles
The Given – Vicki Pettersson
The Silver Door – Emily Rodda
Fire Kin – M. J. Scott
Reach for Infinity – Jonathan Strahan, Ed.
Dragon Princess – S. Andrew Swann
Night Terrors – Tim Waggoner
Pirates of the Timestream – Steve White


The Demon Creed – Paula Altenburg
Exodus 2022 – Kenneth Bennett
Voodoo ’n’ Vice – K. C. Burn
Wonderfully Wicked – C. J. Burright
Goddess Born – Kari Edgren
Magic the Gathering: Journey Into Nyx – Jenna Helland
Manifestations – David Henley
The Singer – Elizabeth Hunter
Kings of the Realm – Oisin McGann
The Remaining: Faith – D. J. Molles
In the Black – Sheryl Nantus
Dragons & Dirigibles – Cindy Spencer Pape
Troll Mountain – Matthew Reilly
Temporary Hauntings – Craig Shaw
Solace Shattered – Anna Steffl
The Court of Conspiracy – April Taylor
Sphinx: The Second Coming – James Thorton
The Oath of the Vayuputras – Amish Tripathi
Salvation – Stephanie Tyler
Antitype – M. D. Waters

Crucible – T. D. Wilson