Sre as Zero Moustapha
I began my first day at Dragon*Con 2014 on Atlanta’s metro system, MARTA, where I met Sre and Lena, a lovely couple headed downtown for the festivities. Sre was dressed as Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy and protagonist from Wes Anderson’s recent film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Lena was dressed as herself, as was I. We made our way downtown to watch the Dragon*Con parade together. (Sre and Lena even shared their water with me! What class acts . . . )
If you’ve never been to Dragon*Con, the Saturday parade has become a local event. Several streets in downtown Atlanta are shut down on Saturday morning, and Atlantans hang out of apartment windows and peep over the edge of parking garages to watch the spectacle. It’s like Mardi Gras for nerds. It's like a better, more fun Disney parade. If Dragon*Con were highschool, this parade would be Homecoming, ... Read More
Sailing to Byzantium by Robert Silverberg I just finished listening to the audio version of Sailing to Byzantium. It was read convincingly by Tom Parker, who transported me in time...Read More
Animal Man, Volume 2: Origin of the Species and Animal Man, Volume 3: Deus Ex Machina by Grant Morrison (writer) and Chas Truog (artist) issues 10-26 These two volumes of Animal Man...Read More
Sre as Zero Moustapha
The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell by Mira Grant
Mira Grant created a fascinating world in her NEWSFLESH, is a masterful piece of hard science fiction, combining medical detail with political intrigue with intricate worldbuilding. Her characters were so real that the end of the first book in the trilogy, Feed, reduced me to tears.
Since completing the trilogy, Grant continues to write about the world she created. With the novella The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell, she may finally have returned to the well once too often. It’s a solid story, detailing the day-to-day issues presented to schools when blood becomes a deadly substance. Grant skillfully builds suspense for those less familiar with her world as she tells of the consequences of one 6-year-old child’s tiny lie about skinning his hand at recess. But ultimately, she has so comp... Read More
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters
We all have that friend, family member or co-worker who thinks speculative fiction is stupid. To be fair, they have a lot of ammunition for this short-sighted view; the Star Wars prequels, vampire-boyfriend sagas and numerous homogenized series with trashy covers. Ben H. Winters, however, is the secret defensive weapon in our arsenal, and the LAST POLICEMAN series is the smart, thinking-person’s SF you can offer as a rebuttal.
World of Trouble is the final book in the trilogy. In The Last Policeman, we met Hank Palace, the titular character. The world is going to be struck by a large asteroid, and all the projections show the results will be the end of life on earth. Bruce Willis is not going to blow it up with a nuclear warhead; there is no technological or scientific way to deflect it. Scientists ... Read More
This week, Sir Bors shares another legend of the noble Sir Lancelot (as with all other legends of Lancelot, this actually happened in Arthurian myth).
Bors: So Lancelot went hiking in the woods this week, and some woman shot him in the ass. There he was, probably looking for something to decapitate as per his usual preference, when some huntswoman came traipsing along the trail a ways back, mistook his behind for a simple hind, and let fly an arrow from her bow. And that great and noble knight hight Sir Lancelot was dealt a most doleful blow. In his ass. There's no real point to this story. It just makes me very happy.
Bill: This week started off not so great with a few disappointing novels: Frostborn b... Read More
Yesterday I was very lucky for the chance to meet with Laini Taylor and discuss her recently-completed DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE trilogy. Arriving in Christchurch, New Zealand for our biannual Writer’s Festival, Laini was kind enough to share some insights into her epic story. Involving a star-crossed romance, a perspective flip on angels and demons, and an upcoming film adaptation, her trilogy has ensnared thousands of readers -- and hopefully you as well.
Here are the New Zealand covers of Laini's books:
I hope you enjoy the interview! Special thanks to Ruby Mitchell, who not only set up the meeting, but handled the filming process with my trusty Tablet! Read More
Kirinya by Ian McDonald
After recently enjoying Ian McDonald’s Evolution’s Shore, the first book in his CHAGA series, I was eager to proceed with book two, Kirinya. I wanted to know where McDonald was going with the fascinating ideas he presented in that first novel. What is the goal of the Chaga, the alien evolution machine that has landed on Earth in the form of a ground-covering jungle that changes the landscape and its human inhabitants as it slowly progresses across equatorial regions? What is in the BDO (Big Dumb Object) that came from Saturn and hovers in Earth’s orbit? How will our world’s societies and cultures be affected by these otherworldly intrusions?
As Kirinya begins we learn that Gaby, the famous feisty Irish journalist, has had Shepherd’s baby. Because their daughter Serena was affected by the Chaga, Gaby and ... Read More
7th Sigma by Steven Gould
One thing I really love about accepting review copies of books is that I end up reading stuff I never would have read otherwise. It really opens my eyes up to new authors, or authors that I should have read and heard of long ago. One of these authors is Steven Gould, who, after further investigation, I discovered is well known for a 1992 novel called Jumper. Well, I got 7th Sigma in the mail and realized that it was about giant metal-eating bugs and I knew I had to read it. Hey, who doesn’t want to read about giant metal-eating bugs?
7th Sigma takes place in the southwest United States, which was mysteriously overrun by metal-eating bugs. Most people have fled the territory, living in safe locations. However, some individuals remain in the southwest. These people are mostly hard-as-nails settlers who refuse to give up their la... Read More
Wow. Just wow.
This has got to be one of the very worst book covers we've ever seen.
There are so many ways this is wrong.
Please help us rename this horrible cover, because it should not polluting this excellent story collection by Ray Bradbury.
The author of the new title we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks.
Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Send it to me. Read More
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Fans of David Mitchell (of which I am definitely one) will feel right at home with his newest work, The Bone Clocks. You’ve got your chameleon-like ability to shift voice across a wide variety of genders and ages via multiple POVs, your richly vivid characterization, the literary and at times lyrical passages of internal monologue or description, spot-on dialog, an interconnected-story structure that spans time and space, the erudite use of history, and imaginative yet grittily real extrapolations of future settings and language. Weaving in and out of all this are familiar themes involving reincarnation, mortality, the predatory nature of humanity against both itself and the environment, and the idea of interconnectedness, the latter made more overt via the added pleasure for Mitchell fans of the many references to characters from earlier Mitchell books. Throw in some paranormal event... Read More
Mary of Marion Isle by H. Rider Haggard
The great H. Rider Haggard wrote a total of 58 novels before his death in May 1925, and of that number, four were released posthumously. Mary of Marion Isle was his penultimate creation, one which he wrote in 1924, although, as revealed in D.S. Higgins' biography of Haggard, the idea for the story first came to him in 1916, while sailing to Australia and watching the albatrosses circling his ship. The novel was ultimately released in April 1929, and, as stated by Higgins, was limited to a run of only 3,500 copies by the publisher Hutchinson & Co. Somehow, many years ago, I got my hands on one, and in fair shape, too. I'm glad I did, because it turns out to be another wonderful Haggard adventure, although many reviewers (Higgins included) tend to denigrate these later Haggard titles as being mere rehashes of older works. Well, I suppose that some of the themes and set pieces in... Read More