Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre
Mari Thistle is just trying to survive and take care of her two younger siblings. Because she lives in the Red Zone and not in the safety of the walled and guarded fortresses where the rich people live, she has to take on some dangerous jobs. Her latest job, which involves sneaking into one of the fortresses and stealing something, has gone bad and she knows she’s likely to be killed by Stavros, the boss who hired her. When she’s rescued by a guy named Thorne Goodman who’s planning to challenge Stavros’ leadership, she finds herself caught in a brutal turf war.
Thistle & Thorne is a novella which was originally published in the post-apocalyptic anthology ‘Til The World Ends earlier t... Read More
Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre
John Constantine, Hellblazer: All His Engines by Mike Carey (writer) & Leonardo Manco (artist)
There are so many options available to the reader who wants to meet John Constantine for the first time. He was created by Alan Moore in his groundbreaking run on Swamp Thing (Moore's entry into American comics). Another good place to start is with Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer: Original Sins, the volume collecting the first issues of Constantine's solo title Hellblazer — the longest running title in the history of Vertigo, DC's line of comics with adult content and adult themes (both in terms of being explicit and being intellectually complex). Unfortunately, DC just recently canceled this title at issue #300 and has replaced i... Read More
The Red Plague Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
It is never easy to start a series with a sequel, and The Red Plague Affair is the sequel to the first book in Lilith Saintcrow’s BANNON AND CLARE series, The Iron Wyrm Affair, which introduced these characters. (The Damnation Affair is a related novel set in the same world with different characters.) I haven’t read The Iron Wyrm Affair, but The Red Plague Affair was still pretty accessible. Saintcrow takes the steampunk London we love and creates a different, almost mythological spin.
The 19th century city where these stories take place is called Londinium, and it is ruled by Queen Victrix, who is a human but also the Vessel for Brittania. Brittania is the deity or spirit of the land, who rules through a human agent. Emma Bannon is a Prime Sorceress, trained in the college of sorcery, and her arts are those of the Endor... Read More
The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf by Tia Nevitt
I rarely read fairytale retellings, but I picked up The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf because its author, Tia Nevitt, is a friend of mine. She’s a former fellow SFF blogger and she lives just a few minutes away from me, so we chat occasionally and have gotten together a few times. Also, I enjoyed her first published novel, the first in her ACCIDENTAL ENCHANTMENTS series, The Sevenfold Spell, a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty which focuses on the minor characters in the story. I read it without telling her I was reading it, just so I wouldn’t have to admit I didn’t like it if it failed to please. (Fortunately, I did like it!)
The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf has a similar set-up. In this case, Tia delightfully mangles the story of Snow White ... Read More
Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in April 2013. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:
1. The number of the cover (1-12)
2. The author
3. The book title
Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more. Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks.
Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days.
Good Luck! Read More
“Barry’s Tale” by Lawrence M. Schoen
“Barry’s Tale,” a novella which has been nominated for this year's Nebula Award, appears in Buffalito Buffet, one of a number of collections written by Lawrence M. Schoen regarding The Amazing Conroy and his buffalito, Reggie. And that calls for an explanation, doesn’t it? “The Amazing Conroy” is man who formerly made his living as a stage hypnotist, but who, at the time of this story, has a nascent business marketing buffalitos, alien creatures that look like miniature buffaloes but are as cuddly as puppies and will eat literally anything. (Ball bearings are a particularly favorite treat.)
As this novella opens, Conroy has traveled to Colson’s World, a watery planet with a single, relatively small landmass. It was discovered by Amadeus Colson, a famously rich man and recluse. Colson has lived on the planet for more than 60 years, along with a few hundred... Read More
Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull
In the second BEYONDERS book, Seeds of Rebellion, Jason has made it back to his own world after attempting to destroy the emperor Maldor in Lyrian, the parallel universe he accidentally stumbled into after being swallowed by a hippopotamus at the zoo. Jason is unhappy at home because Rachel is still stuck in Lyrian and being hunted by the bad guys. After doing some research on the internet, he discovers that Rachel’s parents are desperately trying to find her, but Jason feels like he can’t contact them or he’ll be a suspect in the crime. He’s afraid to tell anyone about Lyrian — people will just think he’s crazy and he might be institutionalized. That would make it impossible for him to do what he really wants to do — go back to Lyrian, let everyone know that the quest they were on is doomed, and tell Rachel how to get back to her parents. Meanwhile, he spends plenty of time exercising so... Read More
Green by Jay Lake
Green, by Jay Lake, follows the sometimes horrific, sometimes savage, sometimes victorious story of its titular first-person narrator. As a toddler, Green (that only becomes her name well into the novel) is sold off by her single-parent father and taken by ship from her vaguely Southeast-Asian country to the city of Copper Downs, a cold northern kingdom full of pale-skinned people. Over a little more than a dozen years, she discovers the purpose behind her training, returns home, trains to be an assassin, and faces multiple gods.
Lake divides his novel into three major sections. First is Green’s time in Copper Downs, ruled for the past four centuries by a seemingly immortal Duke under whose rule some are beginning to chafe. There she is kept isolated in a walled compound and trained by various Mistresses (including a non-human known as Dancing Mistress) in a plentitude of arts and knowledge, not learn... Read More
For your daily dose of pretty: Many of you probably remember the series of painting of Disney princesses in historically accurate clothing. Well, the same talented artist, Claire Hummel has started doing the Disney villains, and look at her first offering. Maleficient. Gorgeous. Click through for a bigger image and to see the rest of the series.
Coulson lives. Coulson lives!! I'm pretty sure that this is the equivalent of the Marvel fandom pulling an "I believe in fairies!" moment. Also, here's the full trailer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Which authors write the best action sequences?
The nominees for this year's ... Read More
Triton by Samuel R. Delany
Samuel R. Delaney wrote Triton in 1974, but it was published in 1976, after his best-seller Dhalgren. Delany’s subtitle for this book was “An Amorphous Heterotopia,” and he stated at the time that the book was inspired by (or a response to) Ursula LeGuin’s “ambiguous utopia” The Dispossessed. Oh, how I wish that I had re-read that book instead of picking up this one.
Delany is a brilliant observer of humanity. I like what I have read of his memoirs and essays. I enjoyed The Fall of the Towers and Read More
Hunter’s Prayer by Lilith Saintcrow
“I am not a nice person” — Jill Kismet
Jill Kismet is a Hunter — she keeps her city safe by tracking and destroying the creatures of the Nightside — those things that come out of hell to prey on humans. The cops call on Jill when there’s a crime that seems to involve paranormal beings. Jill takes care of it while the cops cover it up. Jill’s a badass — she can beat up anybody — but she also has some special powers of sorcery and healing which she got by making a bargain with a hellspawn named Perry. Perry keeps Jill alive and in return she gives him two hours of her “time” each month.
In Night Shift, the first book in Lilith Saintcrow’s JILL KISMET series (reviewed by Robert), we met all the main characters, but you don’t really need to read Night Shift t... Read More
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress
In recent years, I’ve hesitated to pick up a hard science fiction novel. The quantum physics one must be familiar with to enjoy the novel is so far beyond me that I feel I need a physics course or two as a prerequisite. It’s hard to appreciate a novel when you haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on.
Trust Nancy Kress to write a hard science fiction novella that is so clear, so precise and so well-written that the reader is never left behind. It is no surprise that After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall has been nominated for a Nebula Award this year. It has finely drawn characters (especially Pete, from the future, and Julie, from the present), and is based (at least in the sections set "during the fall") on solid scientific principals with a touch of imagination — just enough to power the plot.
The novella open... Read More