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Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but grew up in Katy, Texas. His interest in writing came from hearing about the books his older brother was reading and then attempting to mimic them on paper, though when his brother became interested in Stephen King and the stories written for Robert’s elementary school class developed a correspondingly high body count it did cause something of a ruckus. He later attended the University of Texas at Austin and, like a lot of its alumni, was unable to leave the charms of the city and resides there currently.

The Divine Cities

The Divine Cities — (2014-2016) An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city–from one of America’s most acclaimed young SF writers. The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy. Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsCity of Miracles (The Divine Cities) Paperback – May 2, 2017 by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Stairs: Shara and Sigrud are my two new favorite heroes

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City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Stairs is a glorious, mind-bending mash-up; part second-world fantasy, part political thriller and part murder mystery. Shara Thivani and her “secretary” Sigrud are my two new favorite action heroes.

Robert Jackson Bennett once again, has taken a conventional sub-genre and made it original, creating an experience that reads like an actual sociological thriller set in another, magical world.

Shara Thivani is a junior ambassador from the Saypuri islands – at least, that is her cover. She comes to Bulikov, the City of Stairs, on the Continent, to investigate the murder of Saypuri citizen and her friend, Professor Pangyui, who was found beaten to death in his office in the Bulikov University.

Relations between the Continentals and the Saypuri are… well, tense. For... Read More

City of Blades: Inspiring and heartbreaking second in series

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Reposting to include Bill's new review:

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

Marion: City of Blades is the second book in Robert Jackson Bennett’s THE DIVINE CITIES series, which tells several sides of the story of a major international cultural conflict. Saypur, a civilization that has been oppressed by the Continent for centuries, rose up and subdued its oppressors by killing their gods. In the wake of the Saypuri revolution and its conquest of the Continent, all of the Continental Divinities have vanished, and magic no longer works… usually.

City of Blades, Bennett’s follow-up to City of Stairs, takes place five years after the events of the first book. Voort... Read More

City of Miracles: A perfect close to one of the best trilogies in recent memory

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City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

Bill: I think it’s going to be impossible to review City of Miracles (2017) without reference to events from Robert Jackson Bennett’s first two books in the series (City of Stairs, City of Blades). or without discussing the major precipitating event (no real pangs of guilt here; that event is also detailed in the official bookseller summary), so consider this your fair warning: There be spoilers ahead!

Bennett picks up the story years after the close of book two, with Sigrud off in lumberjack country, haunted b... Read More

Mr. Shivers: Bennett is masterful at creating atmosphere

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Mr. Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett

Depression-era America in the Dust Bowl must have seemed like living through the apocalypse. The very earth was drying up and blowing away. Nothing would grow and the rain never came. There was no food, families were disintegrating, and death stalked the land. This is the setting for Mr. Shivers, a first novel by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Upon reading the first several chapters of Mr. Shivers, one forms a mental image of the author: old and craggy, a face like a few miles of dirt road, hard and sad. It’s something of a shock to see the fresh-faced young man who gives a Mona Lisa smile from the book jacket. He looks more like a college student than like the cross between John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy one would suspect of having written this blea... Read More

The Company Man: Almost a fable

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The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett

“I am a messenger . . . sent from afar.”

Robert Jackson Bennett is the author of Mr. Shivers, the best dark fantasy novel that I’ve read in a long time. Bennett delivers again with The Company Man, a detective noir science fiction novel set in a North America that is both familiar and radically changed.

The year is 1919. The city of Evesden perches on the shore of Washington State’s Puget Sound, a precarious balance of wealth and desperate poverty. The city holds the McNaughton Company’s corporate headquarters and many of its factories, and McNaughton patents have changed the world. They invented the airships that circle the globe, harnessed lightning, and with their new inventi... Read More

The Troupe: Why isn’t everyone reading this guy?

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The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett: why isn’t everyone reading this guy? Here is an authentic voice with an original vision, a uniquely American dark fantasist who can weave the three Fates into the Great Depression and fairies into a story about vaudeville. With The Troupe, Bennett moves closer to the setting and milieu he created so well in his first novel, Mr. Shivers. The Troupe is a long story with a rich cast, a powerful coming-of-age tale entwined with a traditional fantasy quest.

George Carole is a sixteen-year-old piano virtuoso, a spoiled and arrogant young man. George ran away from his home in Rinton, Kansas a few months ago and has been playing piano at the Otterman Theater. Now he’s leaving the theater to find a specific vaudeville act, the Silenus Troupe. George is con... Read More

American Elsewhere: Classical mythology meets American paranoia, to great success

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American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett

I confess I had my doubts about American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett. I’ve read all three of his previous novels and he hasn’t let me down yet, but the mix of elements in his latest one left me feeling skeptical. It just seemed like too much: rural horror; a Stepford-like village; quantum weirdness; tentacled inter-dimensional creatures; a secret government lab; people who aren’t what they seem; Elder gods; classical mythology; muscle cars, hidden files and video footage; a pink moon.

I’m pleased to report that Bennett pulls it off once again.

Wink is a town in New Mexico, nestled among the canyons and pine forests at the foot of a mesa. Wink does not show up on any map, atlas, or even, presumably, on Google Earth. When you are in the town limits, the moon is pink. Most people, however, will nev... Read More

Dark Duets: A horror anthology

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Dark Duets edited by Christopher Golden

Christopher Golden explains in his introduction to Dark Duets that writing is a solitary occupation right up until that moment an alchemical reaction takes place and a bolt of inspiration simultaneously strikes two writers who are friends. Golden has found that the results of collaboration are often fascinating and sometimes magical, as when Stephen King and Peter Straub teamed up to write The Talisman. Writing is an intimate, very personal process, Golden says, and finding someone to share it with is difficult but exciting. Golden therefore u... Read More

Marion chats with Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett lives in Austin, Texas with his family. He is the author of Mr Shivers, The Company Man and, most recently, Read More

Marion chats with Robert Jackson Bennett (again)

American Elsewhere is Robert Jackson Bennett’s fourth novel. Every book by Bennett is a little bit different; American Elsewhere (which I’ve reviewed) is a meditation on the American self-image, the myth of the frontier; a suspenseful family drama and a crackling good SF/horror story. Currently Bennett is on a book tour for American Elsewhere, and at work on his fifth project, but he set aside some time to discuss books and writing with me. And he graciously signed a copy of American Elsewhere which I'll be giving to one of you. Read More

Robert Jackson Bennett talks CITY OF BLADES

Since the publication of Mr. Shivers in 2010, award winning writer Robert Jackson Bennett has not looked back. He has won the Shirley Jackson award twice, once for Mr. Shivers and once again for American Elsewhere in 2013. His current series is the brilliant second-world fantasy THE DIVINE CITIES. Bennett’s work is wildly imaginative and heart-breakingly human. City of Stairs introduced us to The Continent, a collection of conquered city-states still mourning their fall from glory, and the island nation of Saypur, who rebelled against the slavery imposed by the Continent and became conquerors themselves.... Read More